Friday, June 6, 2008

The Road to Peace

McAleese honours the 'debt' owed to young bomb victims

the relationship between Ireland and Britain is now the best it has ever been, President Mary McAleese said yesterday during her visit to England.

The president was speaking at the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace, set up following the IRA bomb attack in Warrington in March 1993.

Tim Parry (12) and three-year-old Johnathan Ball were killed and 56 people were injured when two bombs were detonated in the Cheshire town's main shopping street.

At the centre, President McAleese held a private meeting with the foundation's founders, Tim's parents, Colin and Wendy Parry, who issued the invitation for her to see its work when they met former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern earlier this year.

She said: "The peace we now enjoy has been built at such an awful cost but built it has been, thanks to those who, despite terrible suffering, have always believed in the capacity of the human person to change, to open up to others they once despised, to make friends of strangers, to make good neighbours of old enemies.

"And, I think, that is the debt we owe to children like Johnathan and children like Tim.''

Mrs McAleese went on to Liverpool for an address to students at the Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King.

In her speech, 'The Road to Peace -- With a Little Help From Our Friends', the president said: "When the laurels are being rightly given to the major and well-known protagonists like Bertie Ahern as taoiseach and prime minister Blair for the success of the peace process, it is also important to acknowledge the wind at their backs.

"That came from the irrepressible hope of tens of thousands of everyday men, women and children who refused to accept sectarianism, who reached out across the chasms of fear and mistrust, who quite simply took risks for peace."

- Mike Hornby

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