Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

Mary McAleese hails war on mistrust

President Mary McAleese has hailed moves to combat mistrust and ignorance

The creation of shared political institutions driven by consensus will help significantly tackle mistrust and mutual ignorance in Northern Ireland, President Mary McAleese said.

In the Chancellor's lecture at the University of Ulster in Belfast, Ms McAleese stated the polemic of the past had given way to a new collegial language between the communities in Britain and Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Republic.

But she warned the island was only at the opening stages of peace and that too many people still lived in "the false comfort of sectarian ghettos."

"There are still potential tripwires on the journey ahead," the President said.

"The toxic spores of sectarian attitudes are still embedded and they continue to outcrop in violence and in streets that are unsafe.

"The peace dividend is not yet equally distributed and the weight of hurt and loss is still so hard to bear for some that they cannot yet sign up to this new dispensation."

Ms McAleese said conflicting political ambitions had been addressed through the Good Friday Agreement and that shared problem solving can help bring improvements in the years ahead.

"The creation of shared political institutions driven by consensus will over time make significant inroads into the problems of mistrust and mutual ignorance," the President said.

"The current work on parades is an important exercise in shared problem solving which has the capacity to bring considerable improvements to the decade ahead.

"The human rights, equality laws and other legal and policing provisions of the Good Friday and St Andrews agreements have created the context for a just and fair society of equals."

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