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At first sight this might appear a little naive, but I am not sure that the Government is in a position to maintain this case, especially in light of the effective and moving example they themselves set when they launched the white ribbon day and many of us chose to wear that emblem. That, according to some of the sophisticated elements in the press was derided as being tokenism, sentimental and rather blurred. However, it caught the attention, hearts and minds of a great number of people and so also with this. There is an international day of peace already declared and there are various movements for peace. I was on the committee of the Peace Train.
We often see the word “peace” invoked. What has been added by Mr. Coyle and his group in Derry is an important element, that is, reconciliation — peace through reconciliation. We saw the classic need for this in Drumcree in the last few days because there had been no reconciliation on the ground between the opposing communities. A newspaper today states that a majority of Roman Catholics surveyed in Belfast believe there will be a Roman Catholic majority in the North of Ireland within 30 years. The majority of Protestants surveyed in Belfast believe there will be a Roman Catholic in 20 years. That is an interesting discrepancy because it suggests that there is very little communication between the two groups when they have not even agreed on this demographic development. It seems to me that underlying that is a fear. The Protestant community clearly fears they will be swamped. If there was dialogue, communication and reconciliation, these fears would be appeased in a much better way.
Mr. Coyle's proposal has received generalised support from various Ministers of this Government, members of the European Commission, various agencies of Government, etc., but he is being continually placed in a Catch-22 situation. Before the ceasefire he mounted the “Derry Can Do It” campaign to hold the 1995 Eurovision Song  Contest in Derry city, RTE having staged the contest for two successive years in the South. This may appear to be a dream but look at what has happened. Nobody believed that contest could be successfully staged in Millstreet yet it was an immense success. It says something for the vision of Mr. Coyle who, in his document, quoted President Kennedy who said that the best way to secure the future is to invent it. If we could invent a future in which there was peace achieved through reconciliation — the only way to achieve permanent peace — and if by imagining it, we could accomplish it, even if in the process we were labelled “naive”, we would have done something very worthwhile indeed.
The project was booked for the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation by the Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht. The Minister also encouraged the project in a number of letters. However, he indicated that there was no heading under his budget to provide finance; finance is, of course, part of the kernel. Former Taoiseach, Deputy Albert Reynolds, pledged full support for the project and accepted an invitation to become a patron. Contacts were established in over 30 countries worldwide and words of encouragement and well wishes were received from many of them
Seanad Éireann - Volume 148 - 26 July, 1996, Adjournment Matter. - International Day of Peace.
Mr. Norris: "My motion relates to the need for the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in light, among other things, of the ongoing developments in Northern Ireland, to ensure that Irish representatives at the United Nations take a prominent role in the ceremonies surrounding the international day of peace on 17 September next as already suggested by the Northern Ireland based group. Reconciliation through Communication. I would like to outline some of the background to this matter."
Earlier this year I was contacted by a gentleman called Vincent Coyle from Derry who wrote to a number of public representatives. I will not make the mistake I made earlier of suggesting he write to all Members of the House. He wrote to some Members with detailed information concerning the idea of an international reconciliation day in which a massive number of emblems would be printed and distributed after a formal presentation at the United Nations. -- Source/More Info: http://historical-debates.oireachtas.ie/
International Day of Peace - 2009
In 2009, International Year of Reconciliation - Bearing in mind the Charter of the United Nations, including the purposes and principles contained therein, and in particular those of saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war, bringing about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international
law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace, and practising tolerance and living together in peace with one another as good neighbours, thus developing friendly relations among nations and promoting international cooperation to resolve international economic, social, cultural and humanitarian issues, Vincent Coyle has giving his full support -- Source/More Info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Day_of_Peace