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Our politicians must learn Mandela's lesson

THE Good Friday Agreement suggested that a "true and lasting memorial to those that suffered in the Troubles would be a peaceful and just society".

Fast-forward 15 years and I have to say that the dream has yet to be realised.

Of course, there have been positive developments: changes to policing, decommissioning, Sinn Fein sharing power with the DUP. All that is good. But it falls far short of the kind of society myself and so many like me voted for in 1998.

In the aftermath of the death of Nelson Mandela, perhaps it's time to take a lesson from the life he lived. The great man once said: "If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy, then he becomes your partner." Perhaps that's what's missing from the DUP-Sinn Fein coalition. Yes, they are sharing power. But could you consider it a "partnership" – one based on mutual respect?

The question I would like to pose to our politicians is this: what can you do (or refrain from doing) that would help to build a positive a positive relationship with the 'other'?

While Northern Ireland remains within the UK, the Union flag should fly from Government buildings on designated days.

But in an attempt to reach out to those who have no affinity with the UK, why not fly the Irish flag alongside the Union flag on certain days that have meaning for them?

ALAN McBRIDE

WAVE Trauma Centre, Belfast

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