SF and DUP’s political cowardice destroying any hope of building the society most of us want to see
‘RESPECT’ is a word we have often recently. However, as a quality that is about due regard for the feelings and rights of others, it has been distinctly absent from our politics.
The Good Friday Agreement (GFA), signed up to in 1998 by the vast majority of people, emphasised that there would be parity of esteem and full respect for the identity of both communities.
But in the past 10 years, since the DUP and Sinn Fein have been at the top of government, their language and actions have prevented that full respect and increased sectarianism and polarisation.
The acceptance through the GFA that Northern Ireland would remain part of the UK until a majority of the people of Northern Ireland and of the Republic of Ireland wished otherwise, should have encouraged all political parties to overcome the ‘them-and-us’ mentality that divides our communities.
The outcomes of this continuing division are clear: no government, no Budget, deterioration of our health service, increasing difficulties in resourcing our schools, a weakening of voluntary organisations, loss of young people to emigration and no united voice on Brexit.
The failure of political leadership by the DUP and Sinn Fein, both at local council and Assembly levels, is denying hope for the future for all of the people of Northern Ireland. It is time that both parties reached a conclusion in negotiations and entered into the proper power-sharing systems required by the ideals of the GFA.
It is time that all voters demanded of those parties the good governance that they require, as was demonstrated in the recent protests about proposed cuts in health services.
True respect will only flow from fair treatment for all sections of our society, which should emanate from all political parties.
ROSEMARY FLANAGAN Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh