Belfast Telegraph

Calls for reconciliation process

Republicans and unionists need to become partners in reconciliation in Northern Ireland, the chairman of Sinn Fein has said.

All voices should be heard and republicans must listen carefully to diverse reactions from the Protestant community, Declan Kearney added.

He was addressing an Easter rally at Milltown cemetery in west Belfast.

"We can stop history repeating itself by leading on the priority for an inclusive reconciliation process, in which all sections of our society listen and engage unconditionally with each another, and on the basis of equality and mutual respect," he said.

Unionists and nationalists have met Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson on devising ways of dealing with the past. Mr Paterson said no consensus exists on addressing the legacy of more than 3,000 deaths and many more people injured.

DUP First Minister Peter Robinson emphasised the need to mutually respect traditions and attended a GAA match as a symbol of that.

That commitment will be tested as Northern Ireland faces a decade of centenaries, including Home Rule, the Ulster Covenant, the Easter Rising and First World War and the War of Independence.

DUP Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson said that while republicans talk about the truth, too often those words have not become a reality. He added First Minister Peter Robinson had demonstrated the party's commitment to building a shared future, like supporting greater co-operation on education.

"Whilst our armed forces have opened their books on the past and played their part, those who waged the terror on our streets have kept silent about their activities," he said.

"We don't need a truth commission to hear the truth. We just need the people who were involved in terrorism to confess their wrongdoing and own up to their part in the past."

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