Belfast Telegraph

Good a peacemaker of worldwide renown

Editor's Viewpoint

One of the key factors in helping to bring about an end to violence in Northern Ireland was the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons.

This was overseen by the Reverend Harold Good, a former Methodist President, and the late Father Alec Reid of Clonard Monastery.

The widespread publicity given to this significant development was noted elsewhere, and these two independent clerics allowed themselves to become involved with others trying to persuade the Basque separatist group Eta to end its violent campaign.

Over some 43 years of Eta's activities more than 800 people died, and even today some 300 of these cases remain unsolved.

Eta declared a ceasefire in 2011, but since then there were ongoing attempts to bring about a decommissioning of its weapons.

This long processs came to an end at the weekend when the Rev Good and the Italian Archbishop Matteo Zuppi took part in a discreet ceremony, when details of Eta's arms dumps were passed on to the authorities.

For several years Harold Good was in contact with the peacemakers, not only here but in the Basque Country, and in today's paper he reveals that at one stage he almost got arrested by French and Spanish police, who were suspicious of what was going on.

Rev Good has also played a role in peacemaking moves in Colombia, from where he has recently returned, just shortly before his 80th birthday.

For many years Harold Good has been an active peacemaker and bridge-builder, from his early days as a leading member of the inter-denominational Corrymeela Community.

He also worked behind the scenes at home, and built up a relationship with Martin McGuinness, at whose funeral he was a speaker.

Rev Good is to be commended for practising what he preaches, and it is encouraging to know that our peace process, with all its faults, has become a template for other conflicts abroad.

Sadly, the final moves to end the Basque conflict coincide with continued terrorism, as experienced in London and Stockholm recently.

Our own peace process is overshadowed by a breakdown at Stormont.

The Assembly's institutions must be restored as a matter of urgency, not only to bolster our credibility, but also to move the political process forward for the benefit of everyone.

Belfast Telegraph


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