Sinn Féin MLA Declan Kearney has called for a transformative initiative of common acknowledgement by all sides in 2021 – British, Irish, republican, unionist – that recognises the hurt and injustices caused by, and to each other.
Writing in An Phoblacht the Sinn Féin National Chairperson and minister in the northern Executive said 2021 should be marked by the inauguration of a National Reconciliation Day which acknowledges the suffering everyone has experienced during the previous 100 years.
Declan Kearney said:
“The public and political discourse during this year’s centenary of partition should be framed by an ability to bow towards, but not be shackled by, the past. It needs to avoid efforts to sanitise or sugar coat what has gone before. Misplaced notions of ‘celebration’ have absolutely no contribution to make in any discussion about a new and better future.”
“The wars in Ireland are now over. We have arrived at a tipping point in our history. The old certainties are gone. This particular centenary year should be harnessed as an opportunity to think beyond the past. There is no purpose in using the past to abdicate responsibility for giving leadership in the present.
“2021 should have as its centre piece an initiative of common acknowledgement that recognises the hurt and injustices caused by, and to each other. This symbolic centenary year should also inaugurate a National Reconciliation Day, which in a spirit of ethical remembering, acknowledges the suffering everyone has experienced during the previous 100 years.
“If that is to happen then we need a real willingness to acknowledge the pain and suffering inflicted by us all upon each other.
“Our collective aim should be to move forward in 2021.
“Acknowledgement and ethical remembering can help us open up a pathway towards a phase of reconciliation and healing.
“There can be no hierarchy of victimhood when it comes to acknowledging the loss experienced by so many families. All victims deserve acknowledgement of their pain and loss as a first step towards reconciliation and healing.
“This is a time to be visionary and ambitious for future generations, by opening a new phase of the peace process in Ireland.
“We have arrived at a tipping point in our history. The old certainties are gone. The Good Friday Agreement sets out the principles for managing change.
“The centenary of partition should be recast to create a new context, which will allow each of us to look towards the future with confidence.”
Read the full blog here: www.anphoblacht.com/contents/28029