Peter Osborne writes about the need to galvanize the peace process
Building the peace is not just a laudable aim; it is one of the most complex and toughest too.
There needs to be systemic and structural change, tackling the causes of division and the reasons why sectional and sectarian attitudes continue to prevail. Beyond that, relationship building work is critical for the trust which is a key component of a shared and reconciled society.
We need a vision that takes the best of what we all represent to create something special that hasn’t yet been possible on this part of Ireland and this part of the United Kingdom.
That is why a large number of practitioners and activists within the field of reconciliation have produced a discussion document called Galvanising the Peace. The process has been facilitated by the Community Relations Council but driven by the practitioners. They hope that after extensive discussion with civil society over coming months, a thousand and more voices will identify a way forward for developing the peace process that highlights the critical issues and outlines the key needs.
You can access the initial, short Galvanising the Peace discussion paper, and a summary of how to take part, here:
The process will no doubt engage in civil society participation in government and policy development; in ensuring people are not left behind by the political system (or vice versa); in strengthening trust in the institutions. It may highlight a need for the final dismantling of paramilitarism and the reclaiming of communities by community. It may suggest structural and systemic reform around education and housing.
It will no doubt address the needs for relational change amidst a concern that an erosion of the reconciliation infrastructure is taking place which could have significant, detrimental consequences in years to come.
This feels like a crossing point in the peace process. It is a time that will be judged by history – was there serious intent by everyone to make the peace process work or was it a missed opportunity?
All of us can make a contribution, whether large or small. What we do now will have
long term impact on us, our children and our children’s children.
We need to reflect carefully, and find the courage to seize the opportunity rather than miss it.
Take part in the Galvanising the Peace process.
The short discussion paper, Galvanising the Peace, was produced by reconciliation and community relations practitioners. You are encouraged to add your voice by taking part in the initiative. Here is how: