Friday, May 12, 2006

Good out of evil?

Not a week after 15-year-old Michael McIlveen was beaten to death with a baseball bat by a gang of sectarian ne'er-do-wells, Ballymena has seen many hands being stretched across the cultural divide - an encouragement to all peacemakers.
First, DUP leader and local MP Ian Paisley not only denounced the attack - the minimum you'd expect - but went to pray with the grieving Catholic family. Yesterday, Michael's uncle paid tribute to Paisley for his contact with the family and invited him to attend the funeral. The idea of Ian Paisley attending a Mass would have raised eyebrows in the past, but the time is now right for him to do this - as a sign of solidarity with the Catholic minority in Ballymena and as tangible evidence of rapprochement between Ulster's two cultures.
I want to pay tribute to Big Ian for this act, and to the McIlveen family for accepting it at a time when you could certainly understand it if they never wanted to have anything to do with a Protestant ever again. God bless them all.


At 11:07 p.m., Anonymous Aileen said...

John je shouldn't be expected to attend the funeral mass as that would be contrary to his beliefs, but there are other ways for him to show solidarity with the family and some way of having a presence on the day.

At 3:02 a.m., Anonymous beano said...

I can't help but wonder if Paisley would be safe knowing that there are people out there who believe he is more or less directly responsible for the murder.

This (my comment) is the first I've seen it mentioned anywhere though - am I really that delusional?

At 11:08 a.m., Blogger Jo said...

Exellent post.

In the Republican speculation as to whether he would go or not, there was revealed a nationalist attitude to Paisley that is as reflexive, unthinking and inherited as the bigotry which caused this young boys death.

I am very pleased Paisley felt able to accede to the wishes of a pained family. Not because it puts some peoples noses out of joint but because it is the RIGHT thing to do.


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