Belfast Telegraph

Time is on our side to find peace

By Christopher Moran

I'm fond of the saying that, if you think you know the answer to the Irish Question, you obviously don't understand the question.

The path to peace is not easy. Some believe the "heavy lifting" was done in 1994 and 1998, but, in reality, heavy lifting is needed every day to sustain a peace process.

The peace process is still that - a process yet to arrive at a final destination. Indeed, perhaps there is no final destination; just a journey for each generation to shape, according to their needs.

Sometimes, the process looks delicate, but it is robust at its core, something the "Fresh Start" agreement eventually demonstrated.

Making peace is a difficult - and, at times, discouraging - enterprise, but both First and Deputy First Ministers have put their shoulder to the wheel. I believe history will judge kindly their contributions to the emergence of a new Northern Ireland.

Time will be the greatest healer, giving those unscarred by the conflict the space to increasingly shape society. Organisations such as Co-Operation Ireland can do their bit, helping choreograph the normalisation in Anglo-Irish relations over the past decade, or by supporting community initiatives. Ultimately, however, ordinary people are the guardians of society.

Just two weeks ago, Co-Operation Ireland helped facilitate Ireland's first official participation in the Lord Mayor's parade in London. Sadly, the day was overshadowed by the appalling events which had unfolded in Paris the night before - a gruesome, nightmarish orgy of terror whose pallor hung heavily over London.

For many, the terror of Paris re-energised memories of hurts inflicted upon them during the Troubles. But the spirit of Paris reminded me of what I have witnessed in Northern Ireland - people who wouldn't allow terror to infuse them with hatred, or suspicion. Northern Ireland does not want to go back. People do not want the hatred which motivated savagery in Paris to poison their communities.

As Gladstone once said: "You cannot fight against the future. Time is on our side." We in Co-operation Ireland will work with all of those looking to the future.

Time is most definitely on our side.

Christopher Moran is chairman of Co-Operation Ireland

Belfast Telegraph


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