Addressing an International Peace Building conference in Belfast today, the South Antrim MLA Declan Kearney shared lessons from the Irish Peace Process with delegates from the Philippines, Uganda, Nigeria and the US.
Declan Kearney, also a Minister in the Northern power sharing government, told delegates that the peace and political processes must not be taken for granted and that peace building and developing reconciliation must be pursued locally and globally.
Declan Kearney said:
“Old fault lines remain and these still have still to be resolved including managing the legacy of past conflict; the enduring pain and suffering in our society and the divisive role of sectarianism and sectarian segregation.
“And new challenges arise with the onset of Brexit and making a sustainable success of the new power sharing government.”
Recognising that there is much more work to be done to build our peace process, he said:
“It is essential we all work together across society and within our new five-party power sharing Executive to develop the North as a vibrant and shared community.
“Peace building will only succeed when it is viewed as a shared responsibility.”
Speaking after the event the Sinn Féin National Chairperson said:
“Just as we learned from the South African experience we too have a duty to share our experiences with other societies emerging from conflict.
“It is a bedrock of any peace process that opportunities and platforms are created so we may learn more about each other, our cultures and our differences but as importantly our similarities.
“It is a matter of deep concern that the British government has not fully committed to dealing with the legacy of the past.
“Under the New Decade, New Approach document the British government is obliged to pass legacy legislation within 100 days. It is essential that commitment is honoured and this legislation gives proper and full effect to the Stormont House Agreement on the basis of equality for all victims.”