Flags Issue: Is It Time To Go To Specsavers ?

We must learn to move ahead in this difficult world and simultaneously hold on to our rights… which includes flying flags of our choice, but we are all agreed on one thing… if we offend our neighbour, then we need to examine what we are doing that is so contentious. This applies to BOTH sides. I listened closely to what Irish President Mary McAleeese had to say about St Patrick in her recent visit to Downpatrick. Her speech is largely reprinted in Down News.  http://www.downnews.co.uk/downnewscouklatest-news/st-patrick-centre-receives-visit-from-irish-president St Patrick also faced similar challenges 1500 years ago that we face today, when he arrived in Ireland. He promoted and  encouraged peace and reconciliation… and foregiveness, in a Christian context. What Senator Mitchell said in the Mitchell Report before the peace process got under way leading to the Belfast Agreement was key to where we are now… we must all engage in a ‘change of mindsets’. Otherwise, we will stand still and chaos will be the product of our lack of movement. The real competition should be who is trying to change the most! Down News has kept out of this political dogfight for one simple reason. It is a lose-lose situation. There are mechanisms for discussing and defending rights etc such as the Good Relations Committee on Down District Council and there is no reason why this committee could not have had an extraordinary emergency meeting to resolve this issue if the political will was there. Often the press is not the right forum for this contentious discussion as it can make reconciliation a difficult prospect. But there are times when an inquiring press can responsibly add to that debate. And should do so. Monday 9am would be a good time for such a meeting with all parties to positively resolve this lack of dialogue before further damage is done to Downpatrick’s reputation. ]]>