SDLP Foyle Westminster candidate Mark Durkan has received a joint peace and reconciliation award with David Trimble for “Their work in community integration, equality and peace in Northern Ireland” at a ‘Power Brand Global Forum’ ceremony at the Kia Oval in London on Friday night.
Lord Alf Dubs, noted for his amendment to allow unaccompanied child refugees to be offered safe refuge in the UK, received the award on behalf of Mark Durkan.
Mr Durkan said: “I welcome this award as an acknowledgement of the contribution that colleagues and I made in shaping and negotiating the Good Friday Agreement, ensuring the context of its endorsement by the Irish people North and South, and working for its implementation with new beginnings in politics and policing.
“It is useful to remember that people have to make the compromises and take on the pressure of trying to make them work – when others may have doubts or there is antagonism in terms of trying to hold things up or hold things back.
“The most important thing to remember, however, is the purpose of the Good Friday Agreement, as signally endorsed by the people of Ireland, to provide a rights-based platform for partnership, equality, co-operation and reconciliation.
“We all need to renew that sense of purpose and those priorities at this time – when the challenges arising from Brexit and the choices we owe each other in the face of new risks need clarity, mutual responsibility and shared endeavour – using the creative potential of neglected or underused aspects of the Good Friday Agreement.
“I was honoured that Alf Dubs, a friend for decades, made himself available to receive this award on my behalf – as someone whose thoughtful work for social justice and human rights I have long admired and been proud to support in Parliament, with a shared membership of a number of All-Party Parliamentary Groups, as well as speaking up and voting for the Dubs amendment on child refugees.”
The citation at the awards ceremony read: “Mark Durkan served as Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland alongside David (Lord) Trimble between 2001 and 2002, one of the most crucial phases in the Province’s political history.
“Mark was one of his party’s negotiating team during the period leading up to the Good Friday Agreement. He has been a consistent advocate for civil and human rights, equality and peace, and has been a crucial player in assisting moderate nationalists to find a political voice in a period of history where violence has been the norm.”
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