Letter: Support for talks among all parties in Northern Ireland

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Sir: As a group of Warrington clergymen who have just returned from an inter-denominational visit to the Bogside, we wish to endorse the remarks of Canon Frayling (Letters, 25 November). The Bogside community is dominated by murals depicting the victims of Bloody Sunday: the community remains very angry at the Widgery Report, regarded as a whitewash that led to massive recruitment for the IRA. There are other burning feelings of injustice, and great distrust of British institutions.

Sinn Fein councillors (we met representatives of all parties serving on the council) reflected that distrust, and perhaps the revelations of recent days lend some credence to their attitude. We were shocked to find Sinn Fein voters (of whom there are 10,000 in Derry) who were humans, not bombers.

Many months ago Canon Frayling wrote in your columns of the need for repentance. Peter Bottomley has recently voiced themes on the need for apology. There have been atrocities on all sides. When we recognise that fact, we will move closer to peace. And when we listen to other people's stories, we will be moving in that direction too. Perhaps listening precedes talking or negotiating.

Yours faithfully,

STEPHEN KINGSNORTH (Warrington Methodist Mission); Rev BILL BURGESS (Wycliffe United Reformed Church); Fr CHRIS CUNNINGHAM (St Alban's/Sacred Heart RC); Rev IAN ELLIOTT (Holy Trinity Church of England); Rev MIKE McDADE (Warrington Baptist Church)


29 November