Outcome of talks ‘disheartening’, says Church of Ireland Gazette

Haass talks
Haass talks

An influential religious publication has given its assessment of the Haass talks efforts, describing the outcome as “disheartening”.

However, in the latest edition of the Church of Ireland Gazette the editorial says there appears to be potential for further progress.

It also highlights the importance of the language used in the process, in particular the words “terrorism, conflict and victim”.

“The word ‘terrorism’ refers to acts of violence against the community and State bodies, thereby attempting to coerce the State.

“It is very much to be welcomed that many of those who were involved in proscribed paramilitary organisations have now eschewed terrorism and have embraced democratic politics; those who do so must be ready not only to admit the wrongs that they did but also to guarantee that they will not return to their former ways.”

The editorial also claims there is “widespread moral objection” to moves that create an equivalence between terrorists and their victims.

“Because the term ‘conflict’, which is often used in referring to what happened during the Troubles, does not carry any value judgment, it can enable dialogue to proceed.

“However, in dialogue, the nature of the conflict can be recalled and, equally, the facts of the conflict will never alter.”

Commenting on the effect of loyalist protests, it said: “The disturbances that have been associated with some parades and flag protests not only are dangerous and destructive but also convey a very negative image of Northern Ireland to the wider world.”