Tanaiste says we must continue to work to end sectarianismMonday, April 23rd, 2012
The Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore has said that sectarianism still has the potential to affect poor children right across the island of Ireland.
Speaking at the annual conference of the cross community Alliance Party in the La Mon Hotel in Castlereagh in East Belfast, he said that politicians on both sides of the border must not lose sight of the issue if it is to be stamped out in the future.
“Sectarianism still has the capacity to infect future generations particularly those who are experiencing the current economic difficulties most keenly. It is fundamental that we focus on shaping a future together where sectarianism and prejudice have no hold.”
He said that all sides should consider each other's point of view and should shake away the prejudices that have existed across the island over the past 100 years.
He added, “If we are to fully understand what happened, how it happened and why it happened, we must look not only inwards but outwards as well to those who did not and perhaps still do not share our perspective.”
Mr Gilmore also praised current Northern Ireland first Minister Peter Robinson, whose East Belfast Westminster seat Naomi Long took in the 2010 UK General Election to become the Alliance party's first MP elected to Westminster.
He said that Mr Robinson recently attended an event in Dublin and gave the inaugural Edward Carson lecture entitled, Reflections on Irish Unionism. He added, “I think that commemorative activities like these can set a tone for the wider community in how to mark significant events and avoid unnecessary friction between the communities.”
Mr Gilmore also told the conference that relations between him and the leader of the Alliance Party and Northern Ireland Justice Minister David Forde were very good and he described the Alliance party as ,“very valuable contributors to North/South dialogue.”
by Sean Ryan