What’s possible when peace with justice becomes the priority

A Letter From Ireland

a Chara,

I am back in Ireland for a week before heading to Washington for engagements over the week of St. Patrick’s Day.

I am still reeling from the success of the Irish Unity Summit in New York. The reviews are in and all are positive. In fact, of all the events I have been involved in, this is the only one that got universal commendation. For a room of over 600 mostly Irish and Irish Americans, that is no mean feat.

Hats off to Greg as well as to the team of volunteers who turned up on the day to give up their time. No job was too big or too small. I knew it would be a good day when the volunteer list was oversubscribed. People wanted to play their part.

The political standout was the wide diversity of speakers brought together with the shared hope of creating a better Ireland, excited by the opportunity to build a new and united Ireland.  

I believe that positivity is contagious. Speaker after speaker acknowledged the challenges but all also agreed that these are outweighed by the opportunities. There was a sense in the room that change was coming, and those present were determined to have their say.

When the event ended the discussions continued into the night with a renewed sense that the future was ours to write.

This event is the start of a new discussion, the opportunity of Irish unity, and how it can be brought about.

I strongly believe that the people in Cooper Union will look back and remember the day when the potential for change was led bare. The day when a unity of purpose was found that would go on to deliver a united Ireland.

The discussion continues. We will be in Washington celebrating the Good Friday Agreement, discussing current developments, and promoting Irish Unity. We will also address global issues.

The Good Friday Agreement remains a foreign policy success. It ended the longest period of continuous conflict in Irish history. A conflict that was deeded intractable. Conflict is now in the past and political differences are dealt with politically. The future is in the hands of the people.

This visit to Washington coincides with continued conflict and starvation in Gaza. Starvation has haunted the Irish for generations. We know the cost of conflict and the value of peace. Conflicts are made and can be resolved.

We will bring not only Ireland to the US but also the potential for peace. This requires immediate ceasefires, rendering of humanitarian aid, the release of all hostages, and a political process to secure a two-state solution.

It is incompatible to call for peace while sustaining conflict, to call a war just while breaking international law.  

The US made a positive contribution to the cause of peace in Ireland, and it can do the same in Gaza. Ireland and our peace process demonstrates what is possible when peace with justice becomes the priority.

Have a good weekend and I hope to see you on the road.

Is mise,

Ciarán

Ciarán Quinn is the Sinn Féin Representative to North America. Each week he writes a letter from Ireland with news and analysis. It is featured in the weekly Friends of Sinn Féin USA Newsletter. Be sure you are subscribed to stay up to date.

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