And so the Tweedledum/Tweedledee dialogue of the deaf between the only two political parties in Northern Ireland that have substantial political power continues after the First Minister’s ‘address’ to his own senior politicians. First of all, Raymond McCartney for Sinn Fein:
“Peter Robinson, who has himself of course been totally absent over recent weeks, talks about difficulties around issues like parades and emblems. Surely then this should be all more reason why a Centre for Peace and Reconciliation should be built. Peter Robinson has not issued one word of condemnation about the violent attacks on the police in Belfast on Friday night.
He has been silent on the attack on the Belfast Mayor. Yet he now claims to be exercised about a peaceful parade in Castlederg and can find the time to pen this lengthy letter, but time couldn’t be found to deal with much more serious and immediate issues on our streets.
“People will find it strange that the DUP are now turning their back on such a project and does raise very serious questions about the commitment of elements of the DUP to conflict resolution and peace building. That is a question which the DUP now need to address.[Emphasis added]
Sinn Fein have shown a complete disregard not just for the feelings of innocent victims in recent weeks and months, but for community relations right across Northern Ireland. Following a deliberately provocative strategy may be Sinn Fein’s way of relieving political pressure put upon them by dissidents, but it does nothing to help build a shared future.Unionists have witnessed Sinn Fein’s commitment to a shared future which does not include the ability to share a road.
Sinn Fein’s commitment to a shared future however has included naming a playpark in honour of a dead terrorist and the lauding of criminals in Castlederg whilst victims are left seeking medical support to deal with the fresh trauma heaped upon them. Its not only that the words of Sinn Fein don’t match their actions, but the words of Declan Kearney on reconciliation don’t match the words of Gerry Kelly.
Sinn Fein have created a situation where consensus does not exist within the community for such a centre to be built. Rather than blame unionists its time instead they stepped back from their recent actions and demonstrated a real commitment to peace and reconciliation.Those proposals for a peace centre only took up a tiny fraction of the overall Maze site.
There is absolutely no reason, except republican petulance, for the economic development of the Maze site not to continue. The potential still exists for the 5,000 jobs which would make a huge impact on issues such as youth unemployment and the continuing battle to rebuild Northern Ireland’s economy.’
Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty