Adams on uncomfortable conversations and Unionism

Gerry Adams delivered an interesting speech in Dublin today under the “Uncomfortable Conversations” topic;

In his speech he focused on reaching out to Unionists and what he spoke to Prince Charles about when they met a few months ago

On reaching out to Unionists;

The islands of Ireland and Britain have had a long, entangled, conflicted and tragic relationship.

Because of our shared centuries of occupation, conflict and open war, nationalists and unionists historically have defined themselves, their cultures and their aspirations in terms of their relationship with Britain.

Because of our experience of colonialism and oppression nationalists have largely rejected Britishness in its entirety, whilst unionists have embraced every British symbol and gesture.

Consequently many unionists distrust the entire nationalist population fearing that if our respective roles are ever reversed we would imitate and repeat their excesses.

In Belfast parlance, the boot would be on the other foot.

There is an onus on Irish republicans to address these fears.

We must do so in a genuine and meaningful way.

He also spoke about his meeting with Prince Charles;

I mí na Bealtaine anuraidh bhuail Martin Mc Guiness, An Seanadóir Trevor Ó Clochartaigh agus mé féin leis an Phrionsa Searlas i gContae Shligigh.

We had a cordial and relaxed discussion. Despite some of the difficult issues we spoke of, it was a positive conversation.

Bhí comhrá eadrainn a bhí cairdiúil agus suaimhneach. Is Cuma faoi na deacrachtaí, comhrá fiúntach maith a bhí ann.

We acknowledged that Charles and his family had been hurt and suffered great loss at Mullaghmore by the actions of Irish republicans.

We spoke also of the hurt inflicted on our friends and neighbours and on our own communities in Derry and Ballymurphy and Springhill by the actions of the Parachute Regiment and other British Army regiments.

He shared his own memories of the conflict starting in the 1960s. It was obvious to me that he wishes to play a positive role in making conflict a thing of the past.

Full text available here; 

David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs

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