Letter: The path to reconciliation and meaningful peace in Northern Ireland

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The Independent Online
Sir: There are many who applaud the courage of Colin Parry, as reported in your newspaper ('Contacts welcomed by bomb victim's father', 29 November), in stating that recent government communications with the IRA 'neither surprised nor disturbed him'. The path to reconciliation cannot be a one-sided affair, as is proved daily through Toc H's healing work in the UK and overseas. Direct communication must be the key to lasting and meaningful peace for it is only through such contact that a real basis of understanding can be formed and constructive debate can be generated.

It would be foolish not to recognise that there are those who find this premise unpalatable. Unpalatable it may be, but without it the prospect of achieving reconciliation is extremely unlikely.

Having just returned from a tour of the Ypres Salient, the birthplace of Toc H, and the scene of so much bloodshed in the Great War, I am led inevitably to the conclusion that no matter how difficult, how time- consuming, how deep the differences, and how frequent the setbacks, the battle of words is the only sensible path to pursue.

Yours faithfully,

MIKE LYDDIARD

Director, Toc H

Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

2 December

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