The terrors in Northern Ireland lasted for years and many were injured and even more lost their lives. Mairead Corrigan who like so many had lost loved ones, led the way for Irish women in the struggle for peace. “If we want to reap the harvest of peace and justice in the future,” Mairead said, “we will have to sow seeds of nonviolence, here and now, in the present.”

On 10th August 1976, three children, Joanne, (eight and a half years old), John (two and a half) and Andrew (six weeks old) were killed on a Belfast street corner and their mother, Anne, was seriously injured. A British army patrol had shot and killed an IRA gunman, Danny Lennon, whose car then ploughed into the sidewalk along Finaghy Road North in Belfast.

This was the seventh year of “the Troubles” in Northern Ireland and sixteen hundred people had already lost their lives. The day the children were buried, on Friday, 13th August 1976, their aunt, Mairead Corrigan met Ciaran McKeown and Betty Williams at Milltown Cemetery in Belfast. On that day, the Peace People movement was born.

If we want to reap the harvest of peace and justice in the future,” Mairead said, “we will have to sow seeds of nonviolence, here and now, in the present.” Mairead not only organized demonstrations, she also wrote letters to the IRA, to Gerry Adams and to many others. She called for a “politics of mercy and forgiveness” and encouraged Irish women to join in the struggle for peace.

http://www.catholicsocialteaching.org.uk/themes/peace/stories/struggle-peace-northern-ireland/

Back to: KEY DOCUMENTS OF CHURCH SOCIAL DOCTRINE

Back to: Catholic Social Teaching

Back to: Peace