Clarke says shared future talks must deliver on shared spaces
Alliance South Down representative and Down District Councillor Patrick Clarke has said that the shared future talks to be led by Richard Haass must also deliver a resolution to the issue of shared spaces.
Clarke told Newry Times, “While I hope we will see a positive resolution to the issues of flags, parades and the past, in the Richard Haass led talks, all parties must also agree to the issue of shared space which is key to all three.
“I hope there will be meaningful engagement from all parties in this process. If there is unwillingness from others to agree to the idea of shared spaces then we will find it difficult to resolve the main three issues,” he insisted.
“All sides must commit to the belief that there should not be any acceptance of any public space being used to promote exclusion or violence. No single organisation, group or single identity owns or controls any part of public space.
“Marking out territory as a permanent possession of one part of the community runs contrary to the vision of a community where every space is a shared space.
Clarke added, “The maintenance and protection of shared space is a cross-cutting responsibility for the entire Executive, other public bodies and civic society.
“All must act decisively to address any barriers that prevent or interfere with sharing public space, and ensuring that every individual can live and learn, work and play wherever they choose.”
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