We believe the past cannot be addressed or resolved in a partisan or one-sided way. Our future will remain contested for as long as we continue to contest the past.
Sinn Féin recognises that victims and survivors on all sides seek different outcomes.
We reaffirm our party policy on the establishment of an independent, international truth recovery process.
We accept that the development of strategies to assist in the management of the legacy of our past conflict poses complex political and human challenges. Discussion is clearly required to address the implications arising from any agreed strategies and processes.
This Ard Fheis renews it call for fully inclusive dialogue between all sides on how best to address the legacy of our past as an essential contribution to the peace process and development of reconciliation across the island.
We note that the public discussion which has occurred in the last 12 months has focussed mainly upon format, substance and participants. This is to be welcomed.
We further note that this public discussion has reflected the extent of disagreement within our society as to the causes and effects of the political conflict.
However, we believe that any acknowledgement that reconciliation is necessary, welcome and deserves to be built upon. We applaud those who have already offered strategic and far-seeing contributions to this discussion.
Sinn Féin recognises that there are many victims and much hurt on all sides. We acknowledge the pain and suffering of all non-combatants, combatants, and their families on every side.
We believe the development of an authentic reconciliation process is essential to consolidate and enhance our peace process and political stability. The unity of the people of this island is crucial to that enterprise.
Sinn Féin is committed to reconciliation in the here and now and the replacement of current divisions with new human and political relationships.
This Ard Fheis urges mature and strategic debate North and South on opening a new phase of our peace process based on reconciliation, the development of new relationships, and creation of trust among all our people.
Sinn Féin MLA for north Belfast Gerry Kelly has called on those responsible for issuing a threat of military action against school children, their parents and teachers at three schools in Belfast to immediately withdraw it and has further called on leaders within unionism and loyalism to condemn these threats in the strongest possible terms.
Speaking today Mr Kelly said:
“This is a disgraceful and sinister statement to come from any organisation or individual against school children, their parents and teachers. Those responsible have threatened violent action against children.
“People will remember the shameful scenes of school children at Holy Cross where primary pupils and their parents were left traumatised. We can never see a repeat of those scenes.
“Even the threat of this cannot be tolerated by society. One thing we can all say without fear of contradiction is that school children, their parents and teachers should never be targeted and threatened like this.
“The Red Hand Defenders is a flag of convenience that has been used in the past by mainstream loyalist organisations.
“We must now see unionist and loyalist leaders coming out and condemning these threats in the strongest possible terms, call on the Red Hand Defenders to withdraw this threat and actively support the rights of any child to attend any school of their choice where ever it may be situated and receive their education with without fear or intimidation.”
In other words they are saying lets forget the past be best buddies, while the other side threaten the lives of our children?
Gerry you have made a speech about the threat, but what are you going to do about it?
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