From a speech by John Hume, leader of Northern Ireland's Social hemocratic and Labor Party, at Catholic University Jan. 15:
My party, the SDLP, (was) born out of the civil rights movement. . . . Like Martin Luther King, we had a dream; like Theobald Wolfe Tone, the father of Irish republicanism, our vision has been "to substitute for the denomination of Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter the common name of Irishman." Our chosen strategy encompassed reform, reconciliation and reunification along a path of steady progress, continually narrowing the gap between the reality and the dream, using the political means of dialogue, persuasion, negotiation, accommodation, compromise. . . .
Our analysis is that the first necessary step in the healing process is the creation of total equality of treatment of all the people of Northern Ireland, nationalists and unionists alike. . . .
On the basis of that equality, because reconciliation can only be based on equality, comes the process of reconciliation. . . . No one can underestimate the difficulty of that task. It will take time, but it is a task that involves everyone and that will lead . . . to the only Irish unity that really matters, the only unity that all pre-partition leaders spoke of, a unity that respects diversity and legitimizes differences. That is a process and objective that no one need fear because all sections must be part of the building process. Those who claim that their role and objective in politics is to preserve, protect and develop the Protestant tradition in Ireland have surely much more interest in a process such as this than standing forever apart, paranoid about the future precisely because they have refused to grasp the nettle of settling their relationships with the people with whom they share the island of Ireland.