As Shadow Northern Ireland Minister I’m over the water on a regular basis and on Sunday 12th August I was at Omagh to commemorate the 20th.Anniversary of the horrific bomb that so nearly shattered the peace process as well as killing 29 people and unborn twins – 31 souls in all.
As usual – and I’ve attended many of the annual commemorations – this was a sombre and dignified affair suffused with sadness. The beautiful Omagh Community Choir sang so sweetly to remind us that there is always hope for a better future and that humanity is capable of great good as well as pure evil.
Next day we met with the Ulster Farmers Union to discuss Brexit, the Chief Constable of the Police Service of N. Ireland to discuss Brexit, the East Belfast community partnership to discuss – amongst other things – Brexit and then down to Ardglass in South Down to meet local MP Chris Hazzard and the fisher men and women who haul herring and mackerel from the Irish Sea – to discuss Brexit.
I resisted the temptation to take a spin round the harbour on the elegant and well found MV Karen (see picture!).
There’s no doubt that the economy and civil society of Northern Ireland is being stretched to breaking point by the imminent imposition of a hard border between NI and the Republic.
I’ll keep doing what I can to ameliorate the impact but it is not going to be easy.