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We are committed to putting reconciliation at the heart of government - Kearney

23 April, 2016 - by Declan Kearney

Consider for a moment; this time 100 years ago there was frenzied activity in Dublin and elsewhere to ensure the Easter Rising happened.

The Volunteers had an ambition to change Irish society.

That vision found expression in the Easter Proclamation.

It was a revolutionary document.

But it was also a manifesto for reconciliation, which was “oblivious of the divisions carefully fostered which have divided a minority from the majority”.

In recent years the Peace Process has been the engine of continuous democratic change in Ireland.

It has moved us beyond the political conflict.

But there is more to be done. 

The British Government’s refusal to deal with the past, and sectarianism and segregation, is holding back the full potential of the Peace Process from being realised.

Remember the popular, progressive vision, which secured marriage equality last year?

We need to be just as energised, ambitious, radical, and imaginative in our pursuit of reconciliation.

The Fresh Start Agreement should be a New Start.

Power sharing and partnership government have to deliver more economic and social change, and guarantee equality, respect and parity of esteem.

Reconciliation must be more than an aspiration.

It must make a practical difference for citizens in my constituency of South Antrim, and right throughout society.

A step change is required.

That’s why Sinn Féin has adopted our new policy document on Reconciliation at this Ard Fheis to stimulate a national conversation on a new phase of the Peace Process.

We are committed to putting reconciliation at the heart of government.

We want others to do the same.

All political institutions should lead on this agenda.

A national reconciliation strategy should be developed under the auspices for the North-South Ministerial Council.

Reconciliation should find expression in all spheres of public policy.

Equality, good relations, anti-sectarian policies, and reconciliation must become central to political decision making.

Delivery on reconciliation must be the benchmark.

This vision belongs to everyone.

It should be our legacy.

Ní mór dúinn athmhuintearas a bhaint amach ar leas an phobail go léir. Is féidir linn seo a dhéanamh.

100 years on from Easter Week this Party has the ambition to achieve the Proclamation’s vision.

We can be the generation, which achieves an agreed, reconciled, united Ireland.

Bígí Linn.

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