Saturday, 20 February 2010

Searching for peace and unity in Ireland

Today I am on my way to London to join with Diane Abbott MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Ken Livingstone and others, including Gerry Adams MP, to speak at a conference on Irish unity. I believe the peace process in is very important, and relevant to conflict resolution in other parts of the world.

The Northern Ireland ‘troubles’ have left a deep scar in the psyche of Birmingham. The impact of the pub bombings of November 21 1974 still reverberate to this day. This was an awful, indefensible act. 21 completely innocent people lost their lives and near 200 were injured. The Irish community suffered badly in the resulting backlash and 6 men were wrongly convicted for the crime. The lives of so many were destroyed.

All conflicts have victims, on all sides. What is impressive about the peace process is the process of reconciliation between former bitter enemies. My hope is that with as the peace process deepens, atrocities like what happened on our streets all those years ago will never happen again.

I hope to post a report on the conference later.