Reporting on a challenging year the Community Relations Council has called on our local politicians to ensure that peace-building and reconciliation is fully supported.
In the Council’s Annual Report for 2013-14, published on tuesday, Peter Osborne, CRC Chair, said
‘People want to see politics and the institutions work and they want to see their political leaders make genuine and sustained efforts to make them work. The Community Relations Council has continued to support elected representatives and others to work through the issues of flags and emblems, parades, dealing with the past, and other policy and relationship issues at the heart of government. But political agreement is one thing- peacebuilding happens from the ground up and people who are working on the ground need further supported to build the peace and deliver reconciliation.
‘If we are to take the peace-building and reconciliation imperative seriously then we must support it accordingly. That means there must be sufficient resourcing and it needs to be long term and outcome focussed.
‘Those people and organisations working at the coalface deserve more acknowledgement and recognition for their commitment to the complex and difficult work that they do.’
Jacqueline Irwin, CRC Chief Executive, added
‘The political agreement in 1998 was hugely important, but it did not mark the end of our journey to peace…..
‘We believe that our society is reaching the limits of what can be achieved by pragmatic negotiation on a case by case basis. To move beyond the management of our difference to the acknowledgement of our diversity the Community Relations Council believes it is time to enshrine the principles that will form the basis of our collective rights and responsibilities to each other. If agreement can be reached on these principles …. it might provide long term security for all identities here without prejudice to the wider constitutional question.’
‘Difficult as the challenges are, we must continue to work for a shared and better future.’