Baggage is still in the way

First published in Letters

A PRIVATE touch, rather than a grasp in public, is however, symbolic of a changed relationship, equality, not subservience, resonant of the old advert, My Goodness, Martin Mcguiness, I presume.

Originating in the majority East Belfast Community, I welcome Wednesday’s significant event in the spirit of the 1998 Agreement which made it possible for both the Northern and the Republic communities to co-operate in common purpose.

This aspiration was embodied in the policies of the Northern Ireland Labour Party (of which I was a member) and the lifetime goal of my late elder brother, Tom, who led its small group of MPs in the old Stormont. He, my wife (who is English) and I and another colleague contested the Pottinger Ward and in the Belfast City Council elections in 1946.

In this campaign we took this same message into both communities, a non-sectarian approach, determined to promote equality in employment, housing, etc for all. However, entrenched attitudes and politically structured policies from the Unionist Conservative Party accentuated divisions and generated intense hatred.

Historical baggage still clutters, although this occasion is significant, a public hand-clasp or even touch, may still be some time away.

Samuel H Boyd, Narberth Crescent, Cwmbran

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