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Harold Good's proposal merits serious attention

The proposal from the former Methodist moderator, Rev Harold Good, that a day of acknowledgment should be organised to reflect on the traumatic events of the last five decades has considerable potential.

Many previous debates have taken place during which the Troubles have been examined from a range of perspectives with the finger of responsibility pointed in numerous directions.

However, the Rev Good has stressed that he wishes to see all sides given the opportunity to look at their sins of `commission and omission' during the years of violence and upheaval.

He told the BBC yesterday; "There was injustice, there was discrimination, there was sectarianism from both sides. Where there was injustice, where there was sectarianism, we were silent.

"Together across our community we might come together each of us and all of us, from all sectors including the churches and acknowledge our part in the hurt the grief and the pain of the past 48 plus years".

Rev Good played a key role in the decommissioning process which was completed in 2005 and signalled firmly that, apart from the sporadic activities of a couple of deluded splinter groups, the dark days of paramilitary campaigns were finally over.

Everyone will be acutely aware that the search for reconciliation still has a long way to go and that a mature and serious discussion of the mistakes made in all sections of our divided society down the years needs to evolve.

It is bitterly disappointing that so little wider progress has been made on legacy issues but a day of acknowledgment could provide the catalyst which is required to take us forward.

If our main churches can help to provide at least some of the leadership which will move Rev Good's initiative to the next stage, their involvement would be strongly welcomed.

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Leading article