SF and DUP’s po­lit­i­cal cowardice de­stroy­ing any hope of build­ing the so­ci­ety most of us want to see

Belfast Telegraph - - LETTERS -

‘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

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