Against the background of recent sectarian violence, Sinn Féin launched a policy document to promote reconciliation and tackle sectarianism. The launch had been planned for several months and was coincidental to the latest violence. However, the timing demonstrated the urgency of tackling sectarianism.
An essential element of a new and united Ireland must be that it becomes home to all who share the island. That does not mean that the process of reconciliation must wait for unity. Neither does it mean that reconciliation must a precondition to discussing unity. It is a process that is needed today. It will shape and inform the Irish Unity discussion and will continue in a united Ireland.
The violence of the past week demonstrates that tackling sectarianism and promoting reconciliation is part of the outstanding work of the Good Friday Agreement. The reconciliation; based on healing, respect for the identity and aspirations of others, and the equal rights of all.
Speaking at the Launch of the document entitled “Inclusion and Reconciliation in a New Ireland”, Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney said,
“Events of the past weeks have reiterated the need to tackle sectarianism. Parties must stand united against this violence and appeal to all concerned to refrain from further threats or use of violence and call on those directing it to stop.
The Good Friday Agreement set out a vision of a rights-based non-sectarian future, and it gave all our citizens the opportunity to decide their future together.
Sinn Féin is absolutely committed to challenging sectarianism in all its manifestations and ensuring the development of a culture of respect for all identities, cultures, and traditions.
“We are calling for agreement on the introduction of a clear legal definition of sectarianism as a hate crime with appropriate legally enforceable sanctions.
“Challenging sectarianism in all its manifestations and embedding an anti-sectarian ethos, culture, and commitment at the heart of politics and public life.
“Our proposals also include the incorporation of a citizens’ anti-sectarian charter into the pledges of Ministers, MLAs, TDs, and local councilors across the island, and the full implementation of the Together: Building a United Community strategy in the north.
“Sinn Féin will seek the establishment of a civic forum in the north as a platform to encourage cross-community and anti-sectarian solidarity within civic society, and the introduction of an all-island reconciliation strategy under the auspices of the North South Ministerial Council.
“Together let’s end sectarianism, and together let us commit ourselves to reconciliation as something that is essential for building a better future for all.”
For more information on the Sinn Féin proposals check out: