The Challenge of Change

Newry and Mourne District Council are organising this Challenge of Change conference next week, ‘exploring the concept of diversity in a society still struggling with division’.
The Three Day Convention, organised by Newry and Mourne District Council Belfast City Council, and Louth Council County Council, will be facilitated by Mediation Northern Ireland. To provoke creative thinking it will move between Newry and Belfast bringing together politicians, business people, public servants, the community, voluntary and faith sectors. Delegates will explore concepts, share experiences and examine best practice around issues of Difference, Integration, Diversity and Reconciliation.

We talk often about the nature of leadership and the lack of it as a positive force in our society, so its good to applaud and support the efforts that continue to provide a platform in search of a shared future.

  • Nevin

    Miss Fitz, I don’t see how we can have a shared future so long as unionists and nationalists put their political aspirations ahead of working the common ground. Whenever the constitutional question is asked they huddle together in their respective families – and the scum rises to the surface. The present constitutional arrangement is like a tug-of-war and the two governments are reinforcing the position of extremists.

    A shared future requires shared political goals. IMO this means shared sovereignty with the maximum amount of devolution possible. Joint secretaries of state could facilitate ‘agreement’ by regulating the flow of block funding. Strands 2 and 3 should be merged so that we can build strong relationships across the two islands and further afield. There should be no hiding place for the paramilitary godfathers and those folks who seek election to political office need to publicly declare that any association with paramilitarism is a nono.

  • lib2016

    British Northern Ireland has failed and persevering with attempts to patch it up will only continue that failure.

    So will attempts to build some kind of subsidised independent NI however it is dressed up as joint sovereignity.

    We’re heading for an agreed all-Ireland solution within an ever developing EU and a rapidly changing world. Our subjection to Britain is nearly over otherwise the plaintive proposals of joint sovereignity would never be made.

  • Nevin

    lib2016, my proposal isn’t the joint sovereignty one that is sometimes made by nationalists. The EU shows signs of stagnation and could easily disintegrate.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Nevin,

    …my proposal isn’t the joint sovereignty one that is sometimes made by nationalists

    Don’t worry, most of us picked up what you meant loud and clear when you said “Strands 2 and 3 should be merged … “. You want to drag the south back into some kind of greater UK.

    Forget it, it won’t happen.

  • Nevin

    Stephen, only you and lib2016 have responded so that hardly counts as most of us!!

    NI is the common ground between unionists and nationalists and the merger of strands 2 and 3 puts it’s ‘external’ relationships on a par with one another. Some folks bleat about equality so I’m giving it substance.

    I appreciate that my suggestions will be ignored or be pissed on by diehard unionists and nationalists.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Nevin,

    You can be fairly sure on this forum that when people don’t respond, it is because either (a) what you said was boring as hell, or (b) what you said was as obvious as hell. Your’s was the latter.

    Merging Strands 2 and 3 is just a transparent way of getting the south back into a constitutional bed with Britain. The Strand 2 relationships are much more ‘executive’ than those of Strand 3, which are basically consultative or just plain window-dressing. Hence Strand 2 suits nationalism north and south, whereas unionism already has its constitutional links with Britain. The south neither wants nor needs such constitutional links. Hence, as I said: forget it, it won’t happen.

  • lib2016

    How many times does it have to be pointed out that the UK & NI is the entity which is breaking up whereas the EU is the one which is growing? You seem very confused. Are you another of these people who can’t tell the mainland from the adjoining offshore island? 😉

  • Nevin

    Stephen, it appears not to have been obvious to you!!

    For equality between the two aspirations in a shared future then it’s important that all of NI’s ‘external’ relationships are developed more or less in tandem. Westminster and the Dail remain ‘sovereign’ structures with shared responsibility for NI.

    The current approach by nationalists to strand 2 is now being mirrored by Allister’s proposal for Scotland and NI. It’s an ourselves alone sort of approach. I’d prefer to see us as unionists and nationalists working together on all of these relationships, internal and external.

  • Nevin

    Lib2016, I suppose it takes a ‘confused’ person to write ‘the UK & NI’!!