Belfast Telegraph

Methodist minister and peacemaker Rev Harold Good calls for DUP and Sinn Fein leaders to 'come together' to restore power-sharing

Rev Harold Good
Rev Harold Good
Mark Edwards

By Mark Edwards

Methodist minister and peacemaker Rev Harold Good has called on the leadership of the DUP and Sinn Fein to “come together” and restore power-sharing in Northern Ireland following the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing.

Rev Good played a vital role in the peace process and was one of two independent witnesses who oversaw the decommissioning of IRA arms following the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. He has also worked on peace processes in Spain and Colombia.

In an open letter addressed to the leadership of both the DUP and Sinn Fein, published by journalist Eamonn Mallie on his website, Rev Good appealed for Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill to “come together and do whatever it takes” to restore the Assembly.

He said that he had been moved to write to the party leaders after the ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing, saying he was inspired by the “courage” shown by the families of the 29 victims who died in the Real IRA bombing.

Rev Harold Good addresses a rally to celebrate the announcement of disarmament by Eta in Bayonne on Saturday

He said: “Personal stories of ‘moving on’ contrast so sharply with the murderous intent of those who planted the bomb and of the political intransigence which prevents us from leaving our dark past where it belongs and moving forward together.

“I suggest that passive admiration of the spirit of others is not enough, however sincere. You will know that I am not alone in asking – if the stories and voices of the victims of Omagh are not enough, what will it take to lift us out of the sodden trenches of our political impasse?

“Surely we owe it to these yet quietly grieving people of incredible courage – and to those for whom they grieve – to come together and do whatever it will take to restore OUR Assembly and our confidence in normal effective governance?”

Rev Good, who is a former Methodist president and was awarded the World Methodist Peace Prize, said he feared that people in Northern Ireland "are learning to live with political inactivity" and that many did not realise the "very serious short and long-term consequences" if the Assembly is not restored.

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Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill

He added: "I plead with you once more, listen not to predictable and tired old voices like mine, but to those from Omagh and to so many others from across our community who, out of their unspeakable suffering, have shown us in their own incontrovertible way how to face the challenges of the present and the future with dispassionate courage.

"I will continue to watch this space with ongoing and deep concern, yet refusing to give up on my hopes of what you and all of our political leaders can yet deliver."

"I trust you have the will to undertake the necessary courageous journey as have the people of Omagh to whom I have already referred, along with so many others who share both my frustration as well as my great expectations."

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