‘We have to live comfortably and respectfully together’ - McDonald

Reverend David Latimer with Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald with invited guests including local school pupils, at First Derry Church.
Reverend David Latimer with Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald with invited guests including local school pupils, at First Derry Church.

Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald has said that a series of engagements with people of different faiths and backgrounds has reaffirmed the need for everyone to live respectuflly together.

The Sinn Fein leader was accompannied by Sinn Fein leader in the north Michelle O’Neil, Sinn Fein National Chairperson Declan Kearney and other party representatives as she travelled to the north west for a series of joint engagements with Presbyterian Reverend David Latimer of First Derry Church.

The group visisted the Ulster Scots Heritage Centre in Monreagh in Donegal on Tuesday morning and while there learned about the cross-community initiatives they were involved in.

Later at First Derry an invited audience, comprising local Protestant and Catholic clergy, Chamber of Commerce and Rotary personnel, students from a range of post Primary schools and First Derry church members, gathered to meet Mary Lou.

They listened to her analysis on the political situation and engaged in a Question and Answer session. During the church meeting, young people shared their ideas for peace.

Speaking afterwards as she gathered with Rev David Latimer at the City Walls, Mary Lou McDonald said:

“We have spent a fascinating and productive day at the Ulster Scots Museum in County Donegal and here at First Derry with Reverend David latimer.

“We have had an engagement with young people with interests across Derry, or Londonderry, and it has been a really, really wonderful conversation and one we need to build on, because we know this for sure: we live here togehter and we have to live comfortably together, respectfully together, and we know we can do that, we will do that.

“The determination today, particularly speaking to young people, gives you heart, gives us hope and gives an absolute determination that the only way is forward.”

Rev Latimer meanwhile said: “The diverse audience that we had in First Derry is most heartening - people from the Protestant tradition and from the Catholic tradition - and we all recognised by being together that we are only as strong as we are united and only as weak as we are divided.

“The young people today have boosted my hopes considerably.

“I think they conveyed to us that we must converse more with them, because they have a light they can shine to help us all move forward together and to live well together.”