Owen Polley: Northern Ireland Proves Peace is Possible

[Owen Polley is a freelance writer.]

Thousands of lives were lost during the three decades that Northern Ireland’s Protestant majority and Catholic minority clashed.

Since 1998, though, guns have been exchanged for talks. Up for debate recently has been the future control of local policing and justice powers in Northern Ireland.

London is ready to hand over power, but the exact details are a source of deep division between Northern Ireland’s two largest parties, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the nationalist Sinn Fein.

Observers say that the worst-case scenario would be the crumbling of talks, and following that, a return to violence.

But peace is always possible when both sides of the political divide demonstrate that they are committed to finding a solution. Even after decades of violence, Northern Ireland is proving this. (Perhaps Israelis and Palestinians should take note. Israel’s ambassador to Ireland has.)...

Although the discussions have proved long and difficult, it is clear that neither side wants to walk away from a deal and that in itself is more than hopeful.

Northern Ireland’s politicians on both sides of the political divide have proved that they are not afraid of late nights and hard work if the end result is stability. The rest of the world could learn a lot from that.

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