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29 September 2013 Edition

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Haass Talks and Warrington – Leadership and vision

Editorial / Eagarfhocal

• Colin and Wendy Parry with Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness at the 2013 Warrington Peace Lecture

The negativity of people who claim to be the leaders of the “PUL – Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist” community stands in stark contrast to the generosity of spirit shown by Colin and Wendy Parry.

THE past few weeks have seen two important events in the Peace Process.

The first is the arrival of Dr Haass and Harvard University International Affairs specialist Meghan O’Sullivan.

The second is the delivery of the 2013 Warrington Peace Lecture by Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness at the invitation of Colin and Wendy Parry, whose son, Tim, was killed in an IRA bomb attack in Warrington in 1993.

At the Haass Talks, as Seán Murray from the Sinn Féin delegation writes in this issue, Sinn Féin is “in resolution mode”.

The negativity of people who claim to be the leaders of the “PUL – Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist” community stands in stark contrast to the generosity of spirit shown by Colin and Wendy Parry.

The tragedy spurred Colin and Wendy to do whatever they could to build peace and reconciliation, especially in Ireland. They invited Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator and former senior IRA figure Martin McGuinness to deliver the 2013 Peace Lecture in Warrington on 18 September. Previous speakers include former Prime Minister John Major.

Martin McGuinness revealed to his Warrington audience – in a speech titled “Peace Needs Partnership” – that he and Gerry Kelly were due to meet a representative of the British Government in Derry on the day Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball were killed. Two days later, that meeting went ahead.

“The British Government could have walked away,” Martin McGuinness noted, “but they knew – as did we – that the only resolution to the conflict lay in dialogue.”

Colin Parry gave an unprecedented interview with An Phoblacht in the family home in Warrington on the day of Martin McGuinness’s Peace Lecture.

He makes it clear that he does not forgive the IRA but this does not stop him talking to Irish republicans. He told An Phoblacht:

“You don’t need to peace build with friends, do you?”

Can unionist leaders show some of the courage, commitment and vision shown by Colin and Wendy Parry and the people of Warrington?

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