Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Reconciliation can help remove toxin of racism

THE current climate of sectarianism is extremely depressing. It is evident to anyone paying attention that community relations are seriously deteriorating.

The violent abuse of eastern Europeans is symptomatic of the exclusive ethnocentrism which is shamefully promoted by major political parties. This not only solidifies the poisonous sectarian political axis, it creates a climate of fear and intimidation. This is unfair to people who have come and made Ulster and the rest of Ireland a better place to live.

The persecution of immigrants is extremely toxic and harmful as, without the spending of many people who have settled here, we would not be able to sustain secure employment for the many people employed in retail. If all the people who have settled here were to leave en masse it would inevitably lead to the degradation of our communities.

Most people who class themselves as nationalist or republican have to acknowledge that the vast majority of those who class themselves as unionist or loyalist are good and decent people. Likewise, those who class themselves as unionist or loyalist must realise the vast majority of nationalists and republicans are good people.

If we do not realise this and make no attempt to reconcile our people, then we risk not only extreme violence this summer, but also beyond the summer.

If we do not act now, tension will rise and more mistrust will be bred.

EAMONN MacGRIANNA

James Connolly Society

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