Appeal for Political Leaders to Make Executive and Assembly Work for the People of Northern Ireland
NOBEL LAUREATES, 11 Sep 2017
6 Sep 2017 – The vast majority of people in Northern Ireland, whose main desire is to live in peace together, earn a living and raise their families, are currently living in a no-man’s land. Our hands are tied by our elected Politicians, especially both main Parties, Democratic Unionist Party and the Sein Fein, refusing to take up their political responsibilities and sit down together in an Executive and Assembly and reach consensus on what are not insurmountable or life threatening issues.
In the meantime in the community, the fact that the Political decisions on matters of health, education, culture, environment, etc. are in limbo, with funds cut or on hold, lives are being disrupted, destroyed and the frustration and anxiety of the community deepens with no end in sight, no hope to hold onto. Every day the depression and mental health of both individuals and the collective of Northern Ireland increases, and instead of taking responsibility and helping find solutions our elected Politicians refuse to compromise, insisting they will not take their seats at the executive until their Political wish list is met.
In my opinion such an approach is not Democracy in action and is not politically acceptable. In a post conflict situation, I hope our politicians will never under-estimate the power of violence to erupt when and where least expected and once the genie of violence is out of the bottle how hard it is to restore peace.
We are living now in a political vacuum, which leaves our community vulnerable to paramilitarism. But it does not have to be like this, there is still time to cooperate and compromise. The Good Friday Agreement laid out a framework for Power-Sharing and though we have come a long way, there is much to be done to meet the requisites of equality, human rights, etc.
However, the present Cold War politics of Stormont challenges all of us to work to develop, love, trust, friendship, generosity of spirit, and compassion and empathy for every other person and their politics. We live in a Northern Ireland, in a world that challenges us to use both the heart and the head when trying to solve our problems. People are afraid and uncertain of the future. Many people around the world looked to N. Ireland for answers and to be a role model of how to transcend violence and build structures based on peace and diversity.
I therefore would like to appeal to our elected Politicians to give Leadership by sitting down together on an Executive to work for the good of all the people whose deepest longing is for Peace.
Mairead Corrigan Maguire, co-founder of Peace People, is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. She won the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her work for peace in Northern Ireland. Her book The Vision of Peace (edited by John Dear, with a foreword by Desmond Tutu and a preface by the Dalai Lama) is available from www.wipfandstock.com. She lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. See: www.peacepeople.com.
The Peace People began in 1976 as a protest movement against the ongoing violence in Northern Ireland. Its three founders were Mairead Maguire, Betty Williams and Ciaran McKeown. Over 100,000 people were involved in the initial movement and two of the founders, Mairead and Betty, received the Nobel Peace Prize for that year. Since its inception, the organization has been committed to building a just, peaceful society through nonviolent means – a society based on respect for each individual, and that has at its core the highest standards of human and civil rights. www.peacepeople.com
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 11 Sep 2017.
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