First Derry Presbyterian minister Dr David Latimer has called for a “Day of transformation and hope” to help build relationships between communities in the north.
The Derry clergyman, who has developed a close friendship with Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness in recent years, made the call in reaction to an appeal last month from Sinn Féin chairperson, Declan Kearney, for republicans to have “uncomfortable conversations” with unionists about dealing with the past.
Rev. Latimer described Mr Kearney’s call as “both helpful and hopeful” and asked for unionists and republicans to begin the process.
“We have done dark and dreadful things to each other. To our collective shame we have done unspeakable things to each other. Understandably, one side might want to blame the other side, but no one can confidently point a finger of blame towards ‘the other’ because the unavoidable reality is, we have all done wrong. No one can say his heart is altogether pure, nor can anyone say his hands are altogether clean,” he said.
Rev. Latimer also said past actions need to be acknowledged. “Top of the ‘uncomfortable conversations’ agenda must surely be the emotional trauma and physical pain of everyone affected by decades of conflict.
The suffering and damage visited upon individuals and communities need to be acknowledged if healing is to take place and progress is to be made,” he explained.