The Community Relations Council has responded to the release today by Sinn Fein of its Rights and Respect document which sets out the party’s approach to Cohesion, Sharing and Integration.
Duncan Morrow, Chief Executive of the Community Relations Council (CRC), says:
'Over many years the Community Relations Council has strongly advocated for political agreement on policy for a shared and better future. Without political leadership the impression is of incoherence, division and disintegration.
'Agreement on how we will share the future is critical to the success of the peace process.
'A Cohesion, Sharing and Integration Strategy will of necessity involve both Good Relations and Equality. Good Relations and Equality are linked and must be achieved together if either is to be truly effective. Good Relations without Equality would be superficial and empty, and the pursuit of Equality without a Good Relations strategy would be a recipe for continued division and conflict.'
'All government policy should promote both Equality and Good Relations as required by section 75 of the 1998 Northern Ireland Act. What is urgently needed to achieve both of these vital goals is cross-departmental policy to tackle sectarianism and racism.
'CRC welcomes ideas from all parties on how best to pursue a shared and better future for all. However, there is a danger that public divisions over differing emphases between parties will undermine the ultimate goals of equality, tolerance and trust. What is required is a spirit of generosity and accommodation, a commitment to ensure justice and peace for all and a determination among leaders to come to agreement on priorities. What should be avoided is a public dispute over these critical matters which gives the impression of a political vacuum which is then exploited through violence.'
For further information contact Ray Mullan 90-227500 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editor
CRC provided comments on drafts of policy circulated to it by OFMDFM officials on behalf of both parties.
CRC circulated its own ideas to both party advisors at OFMDFM in July 2009 for possible inclusion in a CSI strategy