“For reconciliation to work it must be a social rather than political process… “

Good piece from Barney Rowan, with a useful perspective from the PUP on Sinn Fein’s reconciliation project lead by party officer (probably a reflection of how highly the project lies within party priorities) Declan Kearney…

“However reconciliation is defined, we believe that it will not work if conceived as an extension of the political process,” the document reads.

“In that instance reconciliation will become little more than a reinforcement of the two-horse political race that currently dominates. It will be about point-scoring and securing and protecting political interest.

“For reconciliation to work it must be a social rather than political process. That is, it must enable all sections of society to have a say and a stake in how the past is interpreted and memorised.”


  • “PUP: However, there needs to be a recognition that for the foreseeable future Northern Ireland is an integral part of the United Kingdom and reconciliation needs to be sought in the context of that political reality.”

    For nationalists, reconciliation is stated in an ‘island of Ireland’ context:

    SDLP Leader Alasdair McDonnell MP MLA has told party activists this evening that 2012 is the year for reconciliation in Ireland and that the party’s job is no less than saving the Good Friday Agreement.

    So there’s absolutely no meeting of minds on the issue as one faction looks east and the other looks south.

  • aquifer

    Politics and politicians are not well enough resourced to do the kind of outreach that reconciliation needs. Time, no street trouble, and all having to deal with a global economic crisis is likely to heal better that letting the bigmouths at it.

    e.g. Tonight the UUP and TUV are undermining the DUP over the Maze site.

    Local Unionists and reconciliation are like the Edsel car.

    Unsafe at any speed.

  • BarneyT

    A social approach is in many ways political. The desire for welfare, equality and by extension some level of wealth distribution (even presented through opportunity) is driven by a political conscience and a pro-society anti-selfism belief?

    Perhaps we can separate social issues from politicals here because real politics has not been engaged i.e. social policy = socialism = starry plough = INLA mentality.

    If SF and the PUP can engage to tackle social problems in the working class protestant communities (target that first for bridge building), that for me is positive and surely will give credibility to SFs working class reach. SF stand a better chance here that UUP and DUP in my view

  • Barnshee

    “Perhaps we can separate social issues from politicals here because real politics has not been engaged i”

    With luck the “subvention” will be reduced year on year and the poltroons holding office in N Ireland will eventually be brought to reality?
    Don`t hold you breath.
    The British Welfare state has created the monster that is N Ireland only the end of the AFM welfare state will produce accountability, reality and “real political “engagement

  • To be really effective a peace process must be engaged at two levels: first, at the elite political level between party leaders and officials; and second, at the common level between ordinary nationalists and unionists. The latter will not occur as long as attempts at “ethnic outflanking” continue. As long as Sinn Fein fears that the SDLP might experience a resurgence or as long as the DUP, fears either the TUV or the UUP might cut into their present position. Therefore reconciliation will continue at the top elite level in terms of a continued ruling duopoly between the Shinners and the Democratic Unionists but not at the mass level because it is in the interest of both parties to keep their respective electorates revved up and in fear.