Category: Archive

Ex-prisoners seek ‘genuine engagement’

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The umbrella group of republican ex-prisoner groups, Coiste na n-Iarchimi says it will draw on the “experience of 100,000 years” of combined imprisonment in putting together research, developing links and eventually publishing their findings.
Coiste project manager Mike Ritchie says the former prisoners are seeking “genuine engagement” with unionists, Protestants on both sides of the border, political parties, business and other groups.
“There is no doubt the process will involve a difficult and stimulating journey, but it is a journey which must be undertaken,” he said. “We want to listen and learn as well as to have our say.
“We have been an important constituency within the peace process. Processes of Nation Building is our next step in the search for full and equal citizenship for both ourselves and all other groups in Irish society.”
Belfast Mayor Alex Maskey launched the project in Belfast at which Ritchie said republican ex-prisoners had been involved in developing the peace process and were now seeking to go “a significant step further.”
Ritchie added: “Processes of Nation Building will ask the question: ‘What type of Ireland do we want to see?’ Through a program of research and outreach we will engage with key sectors in Irish society.
“We will reflect upon and investigate divisions and opportunities for building a nation rooted in a respect for diversity and commitment to justice and peace.”

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