Call to break down the sectarian wall that splits Northern policies

 

DELEGATES voted unanimously for the restoration of the IRA ceasefire during a low key debate on Northern Ireland. Demands by the party's Northern wing for the transfer of paramilitary prisoners from British jails, and an end to punishment beatings, were also endorsed.

Mr Seamus Lynch (Belfast) said there was a good chance that the all party negotiations would succeed.

"They are good to the extent that everyone will be around the table and have the opportunity to put their point of view forward."

Ms Mary McMahon (Belfast) said that sectarianism was a fact of political life in the North.

No visable expression of it was more ugly or brutal - since the killings had stopped - than the miles of a so called peace wall which divided Belfast.

"This concrete wall, however modified by landscape designers to be less offensive to the eye, is a monument to hatred and strife.

"It physically represents the scale of the political divisions within our community, and it is visible evidence of the size of the task facing all of those elected on May 30th who wish to seek agreement and compromise."

Mr Frans Frison (Ballybrack, Dublin) said that of a mere eight motions submitted on the North only three were from the South. He hoped this was not indicative of the mood of the grassroots.

Great efforts had been made to coax Sinn Fein and the IRA to restore the ceasefire, but certain declarations from the Government, such as the "penny candle" quip, or the sectarian posturing of the Fianna Fail leader, were putting increased pressure on the peace process.

Mr Seamus Rodgers (Donegal) said there was now an opportunity for politics to take centre stage, as well as for demilitarisation, civil rights and a peaceful future.

"Let us go for it."