Today (Wednesday) the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins visited Enniskillen.
The president arrived this morning and took the time to visit students at Erne Integrated College, where he was entertained by the school choir before then having lunch at the Killyhevlin Hotel.
In his address at the college Mr Higgins spoke about the Enniskillen bomb and referenced the words of Gordon Wilson and the importance of reconciliation. He further commended those at the school for the important role they play “as we work together to realise a truly reconciled society”.
In the afternoon he attended a special service in St Michael’s Church, Enniskillen, before then making the short, but significant journey across the road to St Macartin’s Cathedral. At the cathedral he met representatives from the local community including local school children and management, business, sports, charities and the public service.
Speaking to the Fermanagh Herald at the Killyhevlin Hotel Mr Higgins praised the work at the Erne Integrated College.
“I had a very, very good visit to the Integrated school and that was so impressive. I think that is the way forward, the more people come to share experiences, to share education, which is crucial I think. My own wish is that integration education would come at a much faster speed.”
The president also commended the work of Monsignor Peter O’Reilly and Dean Kenneth Hall in fostering community relations and revealed the visit had been long in the planning.
“I think they’re to be very warmly congratulated. I’m aware of it for some time, indeed I’d hoped to make this journey earlier, but there was some reason why we had to postpone it, perhaps I was abroad.”
“I’m delighted to be doing it, I’d very much like to warmly pay tribute to them. The main thing, which is very, very important, is the sort of inclusive definition they are giving to spirituality and indeed to faith systems and beliefs. When we see all around the world such abuses taking place in what are supposed to be fundamental creeds of love and faith, in fact to see people sharing space and ritual together is a powerful healing in itself and it makes a very, very fine contribution . I think that where they have made the connection as well is that peace at the end of the day doesn’t just come from the constitutional documents only or in formal agreements, it’s something that’s transacted in the lives of people and their contribution to that is enormous.”
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