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6 March 2018

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Real reconciliation requires vigilance and commitment - from all of us

Republicanism must be about tolerance, respect and inclusiveness. These are political principles that I am firmly committed to advancing. I am also determined to reach out and to represent all the citizens of Derry.

Real reconciliation requires vigilance and commitment - from all of us
Elisha McCallion MP

Regularly our society is confronted with the painful legacy of our divided past. Too often distrust and suspicion has taken the place of reconciliation and cooperation. For the social and political progress, we all desire, we must all try to do more.

Republicanism must be about tolerance, respect and inclusiveness. These are political principles that I am firmly committed to advancing. I am also determined to reach out and to represent all the citizens of Derry.

We want to end the segregation and separation. We must stamp out sectarianism, sexism, racism or any other 'ism' that preserves inequality. A just and peaceful society is our objective. Indeed, it is the only mean of achieving a truly reconciled society. 

In Irish society, with our painful past, gestures are important. They are symbols of a wider approach. We value them not in the expectation of a response or reciprocation from others, but as an acknowledgement that there are other narratives and perspectives which we may not share, but that we accept as legitimately held positions and views.

As a society we have also perhaps forgotten the power of negative gestures, and the impact they can have on those still suffering and grieving from the traumatic experiences of the past.

In this vein, we all carry a responsibility to empathise and learn from each other’s experiences, however uncomfortable it may be.

Ignoring the difficult parts of our intertwined and multifaceted histories is a damaging mistake. But collectively, it’s a mistake made all too common in our society.

In March 2017 republicans lost an iconic leader who won favour and respect from across all sections of society for his sincere and committed attempts to build bridges and trust in the process of reconciliation. A proud Derry man, Martin McGuinness led republicans often beyond their traditional comfort zone – it is part of Martin’s legacy – a legacy for which republicans will be forever grateful.

We all can and should learn from Martin’s willingness to reach out with generosity and patience. In this regard, Derry has always led the way. John Hume too is widely respected in my city for his efforts in building a shared society.

Leaders of today, and I as a republican representative dedicated to playing my part in creating a truly shared city in my native Derry, have a duty to advancing the process of reconciliation. This is the necessary next stage in our peace process and we all have a duty to engage in it with an open and positive mind.

In many ways, our task is easier because of the steps taken by leaders who went before us. But difficult and uncomfortable conversations remain to be had.

In the future we must all seek out opportunities to show our commitment to reconciliation and to learning from each other. I am firmly committed to this task.

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An Phoblacht Magazine

AN PHOBLACHT MAGAZINE:

  • The first edition of this new magazine will feature a 10 page special on the life and legacy of our leader Martin McGuinness to mark the first anniversary of his untimely passing.
  • It will include a personal reminiscence by Gerry Adams and contributions from the McGuinness family.
  • There will also be an exclusive interview with our new Uachtarán Mary Lou McDonald.

Buy An Phoblacht magazine here

Uncomfortable Conversations 

uncomfortable Conversations book2

An initiative for dialogue 

for reconciliation 

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Contributions from key figures in the churches, academia and wider civic society as well as senior republican figures


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