“We were the Good Friday Agreement generation, destined to never witness the horrors of war but to reap the spoils of peace. The spoils just never seemed to reach us.”
Today on the day after she died of the gun shot wound she received on the streets of Derry we learn that two others of that Good Friday Agreement generation have been arrested for her murder. These are three young people who should have been able to reap the spoils of peace.
Twenty one years ago after that other Good Friday they was a feeling of hope about the future for Northern Ireland. Our politicians were talking about talking responsibility for our health service, our economy, our education and all the other departments. Trust me as someone who was in the civil service either side of devolution I know the enthusiasm that local politicians had (yes even those who were opposed to the Good Friday Agreement).
But this weekend after hearing about the ages of those arrested I got thinking. Is it really because the Good Friday Agreement generation didn't really reap the spoils of peace that we know have these young people taking to arms.
We have to acknowledge that there has been some unrest in certain areas for a while. We have to look at why this has allowed to escalate.
Our politicians have to take some responsibility, only last week Arlene Foster again used the scare story that unionists have to vote DUP to prevent Sinn Féin being the largest party. When our politicians still talk about us and them there is still division and not a shared future. Yesterday she was united with all the other parties standing in the Creggan at a vigil for a victim of violence in Northern Ireland.
The issues that impact the poorest in Northern Ireland whether in the Creggan or East Belfast, whether Protestant or Catholic, gay or straight have been put on hold for over 2 years now. Decisions that cannot be made without a Minister are not being made. The spoils of peace are at a standstill. Partially this is down to the two largest parties still posturing with us and them redlines.
Twenty one years on from the people of Northern Ireland voting to allow their politicians to take back control of our future. Twenty one years on from us trusting them to be able to share that power they are failing to act in our interests. At the moment there is too much playing at party politics rather that dealing with the real politics and sadly here in Northern Ireland too often that means making everything into a green or orange issue. If you are into consensus politics and agree with something that one side suggests you are even accused of the worst excesses of them uns.
This is not healthy, we need to step away from all of this name calling and work on making things better for the generation that didn't experience the horrors of war, we need to be able to provide with the opportunity to enjoy the spoils of peace.