14 Sep 2015
Corrymeela stands with the many people working for a shared society and calls on all Executive Ministers to embrace the pledge of office and MLAs the code of conduct that they have committed themselves to. They have pledged not only to “serve all the people of Northern Ireland equally,” and to “participate with colleagues,” but also to “operate in a way conducive to promoting good community relations and equality of treatment.” We do not believe that the actions of the last few weeks have been conducive in promoting such relations. Nor have they supported the building of a shared future for all.
Power sharing is difficult. Over the last fifty years Corrymeela has learnt that reconciling with those who represent a political, national and religious other can prove painful and costly. It demands much from everybody. Sometimes it can feel like too much. However our civic society both depends on and deserves such costly leadership.
As the events of the last weeks have shown, our sharing is fragile. In particular, at this time, we think of those who have been bereaved and those whose communities continue to be affected by the legacy of division. Our peace will be demonstrated by systemic changes improving the circumstances of those who suffered and who continue to suffer.
Our prayers, support and demands are with those who have committed themselves to leading our shared society. We call on them to meet each other, to share rooms of debate, argument, compromise and negotiation. We call on them to navigate us into a shared future for all, a shared future whose benefits can outweigh even painful costs. We call on all people in Northern Ireland to commit to working together peacefully and both supporting and holding our leaders to account in this process.
In light of contemporary crises on the other edge of Europe the need for a continuation of the painful work of peace is increasingly apparent. While we in Northern Ireland have further to go, we have learnt so much that is of benefit for other divided areas in our world. May our peace agreement and process be one that guides and influences us all – especially in times such as this.
Colin Craig, Executive Director
Pádraig Ó Tuama, Leader