Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

DebateNI home of Northern Ireland politics

'Republican militarist violence like Belfast car bomb is step up in attacks against peace process'

The scene at the top of Chichester Street in Belfast City Centre beside Victoria Square where a car bomb partially exploded last weekend. Pic Jonathan Porter
The scene at the top of Chichester Street in Belfast City Centre beside Victoria Square where a car bomb partially exploded last weekend. Pic Jonathan Porter

Over the last week there has been an attempt by small groups of republican militarists to step up violent attacks against the peace and political processes.

They are trying to maximise disruption to the local economy leading up to Christmas.

It has also been a long established objective of their activities to try and remilitarise the north.

Our collective resolve must be to ensure none of that happens. These events reinforce the need for united, cross-party leadership against all extremists, regardless of their affiliation. Their only agenda is to undermine the progress made to date, and efforts to successfully address the unfinished business of our peace process.

Yes, the peace and political processes are imperfect; but that doesn’t mean nothing has changed, as some cheerleaders for the wreckers and militarists would purport.

Instead, everything has changed; and irreversibly so.

None of this would have been made possible without the vision and leadership of Fr Alec Reid.

His legacy is that even when faced with the seemingly insurmountable challenge of continuous war, he showed a roadmap to a peaceful, just and equal society could be devised.

Alec Reid, the man, peacemaker and priest, never stopped believing that. He and others, persuaded governments and political parties in Ireland, Britain and beyond, that it could be so.

So while we mourn the human and spiritual colossus of Alec, it is ironic that some pursue an agenda which shuns that legacy.

The war is over. This society is not going back to political conflict. Everything has changed irreversibly.

Amidst the sporadic efforts of a few to drag us backwards, the greater number of republican, unionist and other citizens should take inspiration from Fr Alec and stay focused on the bigger picture, and greater prize ….lasting peace and stability for future generations.

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