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We must work with dissidents at grassroots

I was pleased and surprised at the large number of people who took to the streets of Omagh and other cities and towns last Sunday to express that the death of Ronan Kerr was 'not in my name'.

In spite of this success, I am left feeling that this is not enough and may be a further sticking plaster on an unhealed wound.

Dissidents are real people with agendas, a set of beliefs, ideas and philosophies. They too, have feelings, hopes and dreams.

We fail to understand this and are more comfortable condemning and separating ourselves from anything to do with them.

In fact, it's that shallowness that has made our peace cheap and our reconciliation non-productive.

We need to be better at our relationships and this includes the dissident republicans.

We need to work at resentment at a grassroots level, where the poor and unemployed are left feeling they have no representation in Government.

Our politicians need to listen to their calling and deliver on social concerns.

The gap in funding that some victims' and survivors' groups are experiencing is not a good reflection of government care of individuals affected by the Troubles.

IAN BOTHWELL

Director, Restoring Hope/Crossfire Trust

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