Call for power sharing at grassroots level

The Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education welcomes the historic commitments from both the DUP and Sinn Fein to move towards a power sharing government. Nationalists and Unionists sitting down in government together sends a strong signal to the electorate that there is willingness towards breaking down the sectarianism and segregation that have accumulated over decades and which deeply divide Northern Ireland.

Moving forwards together is a slow and difficult journey as the integrated sector can testify to after 25 years of bringing communities together through the growth and development of integrated schools – which could be called grassroots power sharing. But the rewards are immense if agreement can be reached and better understanding and tolerance of each other’s identity can be achieved. We would urge all political parties to grasp this opportunity to work together to bring about a shared future for the people of Northern Ireland.

Deborah Girvan, Communications and Lobbying Manager, Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education

Gary Kent is a graduate of international relations. After spells in management in British Rail and the Co-Op he began work in parliament in 1987 where he was active for two decades on Anglo-Irish peace activity against terrorism and now as secretary of the all-party parliamentary group on the Kurdistan Region in Iraq, which he has visited 27 times since 2006. He used to be a columnist for Fortnight Magazine and writes a regular column for the Kurdish Rudaw outlet and many other publications.