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Kearney calls for mutual respect and shared culture of commemoration

19 November, 2016 - by Declan Kearney

Sinn Féin National Chairperson and South Antrim Sinn Féin MLA, Declan Kearney has called for mutual respect and a shared culture of commemoration following recent attacks on memorials in Glenavy and Belfast.

Referring in particular to attacks on memorials around the time of Remembrance Sunday, Mr Kearney said;

“I was disappointed to see yet another attack on the War Memorial in Glenavy, and appalled by the vile desecration of the David Ervine Memorial in East Belfast.

“Given the timing of these attacks, it is clear they were designed to cause maximum offence during a significant period of remembrance for many in our society. All memorials are places which demand reverence and respect, regardless of what tradition they represent. 

“For republicans in South Antrim, the attack on the David Ervive Memorial was reminiscent of the vandalism carried out at the Roddy McCorley Memorial in Toome earlier this year. On that occasion the people responsible also took time to record their vile behaviour which included scrawling graffiti, and urinating on the monument.

“All such attacks are wrong and demand the strongest possible condemnation. Sinn Féin has been consistent in speaking out against such actions and calling for respect for the different narratives and traditions which reflect our shared history.

“It was in this spirit of reconciliation and understanding that I represented Sinn Féin at the Armistice Remembrance ceremony in the Assembly, and also at a recent discussion on the Easter Rising organised by the Fermanagh Orange Order. 

“Increased understanding and mutual respect are the basis upon which to discuss our historic and current cultural and political differences and societal divisions. As a community we need to be discussing the development of a shared culture of commemoration based upon parity of esteem, mutual respect and equality.  This represents the way forward to building an inclusive, equal, agreed and shared future.” 

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