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We should learn from South Africa on reconciliation - Kearney

16 December, 2015


Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney has said continued celebration of reconciliation in South Africa should inspire increased efforts towards reconciliation and healing here. 

Mr Kearney said; 

"Twenty years on Reconciliation Day in South Africa is a public holiday and the vision of reconciliation continues to inspire popular celebration. We should draw from that example in our own society. 

"The date for Reconciliation Day was deliberately chosen to mark two historic events associated with conflict in South African history; the military defeat of the Zulus by the Voortrekkers in 1838, and the formation of the ANC's army MK in 1961. 

"We in are already living through a decade of centenary events which have shaped modern Ireland. Next year marks the centenary of the Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme. Both events speak to our shared but divided experience of history. 

"South Africa's Reconciliation Day is a reminder that historic divisions can be reworked into a positive vision.

“That example should inspire us to increase our collective efforts as political parties, governments and civic society to achieve reconciliation and healing for all sections of our community, and between Ireland and Britain.

"The renewed stability of the political institutions and political process now create a real opportunity for us to explore new initiatives to bring about reconciliation. This includes a collective act of common acknowledgement for the hurt caused during our conflict, as a potential step towards establishing our own Reconciliation Day."

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