Let’s give peace another chance
The fatal shooting of Lyra McKee in Creggan has released an unprecedented tidal wave of revulsion around our city and across Northern Ireland, writes Rev. David Latimer, First Derry Presbyterian Church.
Believing that Lyra’s shocking death can become a catalyst for change in Derry-Londonderry and beyond compels us to plead with our politicians to put people before party and to approach a new round of talks with open minds and willing hearts.
It is time to make Northern Ireland work for all its citizens regardless of their age, creed, colour, culture or gender identity is what we are saying.
Rather than being forever entangled by issues that divide, we urge you to first create a reservoir of trust amongst yourselves by intentionally focussing on issues such as education, health, infrastructure, economy and environment - issues that have the potential to unite.
Thereafter, it may prove more productive to engage with one another in the important and unavoidable difficult conversations.
There is now a golden opportunity to show to ourselves and the world that a new mould and a new life can be shaped for the greater good of all.
The sea-change we long for, however, will neither be easy or quick.
It will involve going beyond what comes naturally and it will necessitate breaking new ground.
Moreover, it will require close support from Dublin and London.
After all, it was their considerable commitment in 1998 that helped bring about the Good Friday Agreement.
Therefore, we’re calling for intensive ‘hands on’ support from both governments for as long as it takes and also, if necessary, the appointment of an independent facilitator.
Far and away the top priority for fresh talks must be to revive devolved government at Stormont and to do it without delay.
For our part, we assure you of our support as we implore you, our valued political representatives, to make a supreme effort to re-establish what has been broken and to go all out to bridge the gulf that immobilizes progress.
May you have the courage to act in the best interests of all the people and give peace in our country another chance.