Speaking at the opening of the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis 2015 in Derry’s Millennium Forum, Mr Ó hEára said;
“It is a great honour for Derry republicans that Sinn Féin has decided to host the 2015 Ard Fheis here in our city. It indicates the growth and confidence of the party locally and our ability to deliver on such a major event.
“Derry was at the epicentre of a system of inequality and injustice that pertained across the North for 50 years.
“The abolition of the old Stormont parliament in 1972 marked the beginning of the end for unionist misrule. Today following the Good Friday and other agreements we are well along the road to the transition of this society from inequality and injustice to a fairer society for all.
“As a native of this city I am proud of the role that Derry republicans have played in that process of transformation which has brought us to where we are today.
“As part of our journey towards a fair and just society we need to concentrate on the economy and job creation but we also have to address the mindset that created the divisions of the past. This is about reconciliation and peace-building.
“Republicans in this city and across Ireland take this responsibility seriously and are striving to create a society which is inclusive and based on respect and equality.
“This involves reaching out to our fellow citizens in the unionist community and convincing them that we are serious about tackling the differences that exist between us.
“I’m not talking about tolerance – I’m talking about acceptance of cultural, political and religious differences and of people who espouse these differences.
“I’m talking about acceptance, which, within the bounds of equality of treatment, means almost unconditional acceptance of the other.
“We all have to share this small island and need to deal with the past with compassion and understanding; we can’t let our past differences hold us back from creating a future that offers hope to our children.”