Michelle O’Neill’s sympathy for Manchester victims is heartfelt - there is no justification for what happened
What happened in Manchester last Monday was mass murder. It occurred at a time of apparently growing numbers of indiscriminate attacks against innocent civilians across mainland Europe.
Mass murders of innocent children in Europe are mirrored by similar atrocities taking place continually in places like Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Many people will draw inevitable parallels between the recent attack upon children in Manchester and the indiscriminate killing of children in Gaza.
The Manchester massacre has been rightly condemned from across the political spectrum. Perversely, some in Ireland have tried to cynically exploit this tragedy to mount gratuitous political attacks against Sinn Féin.
There is no justification for what happened in Manchester.
There is no distinction between the carnage and suffering which results from all wars.
Acts of war can never be romanticised regardless of the wider context in which these occur.
In the Irish context, no right-thinking republican has ever glamorised war, or indeed the actions of the IRA, in this or any previous generation.
To assert that a political context forced the use of armed struggle as a last resort cannot disguise the massive human suffering caused by IRA actions.
The IRA leadership said that publicly in 2002.
Whilst we might wish it could be otherwise, the past cannot now be undone or disowned by republicans. Myself, Gerry Adams and the late Martin McGuinness have said so in specifically addressing tragic events, such as the Shankill bomb, Kingsmill, Tullyvallen or Darkley.
Whether in Manchester, Ireland or in some other global conflict zone, all hurt, suffering and grief is the same and warrants acknowledgement with sincere remorse.
In Ireland, hurt was caused on all sides. There was and is no hierarchy of victimhood or humanity.
That is the actual context within which the heartfelt sympathies extended by Michelle O'Neill for the victims of the Manchester bomb needs to be heard and understood.
Those who attempt to score cheap political and publicity points in Ireland on the back of the Manchester atrocity disgrace and diminish themselves.
The war in Ireland is over, even though its legacy casts a long shadow.
Some within political unionism and the British state have deliberately sought to weaponise the past and to turn it into a new battlefield. The current political crisis within our peace process demonstrates the urgent need to move it towards a new phase based upon reconciliation and healing.
The Irish peace process is the most important political project in Ireland. It personifies hope in the face of adversity and is a conflict resolution model, which many caught in seemingly intractable conflict across the globe look towards for inspiration.
Our peace process is proof that another world is possible. The Manchester bombing is a brutal reminder that a better, safer, world of solidarity must not only be an aspiration, but also a concrete political and social objective.
The full text of Declan Kearney's article for An Phoblacht can be read at www.anphoblacht.com/contents/26902