Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

DebateNI home of Northern Ireland politics

On the run letters: More controversies may well emerge when the judge-led inquiry concludes

No winners in a peace of compromise

There are no winners in war and no winners in a peace of compromise. With no victors there are only victims. Brokers of uneasy truces must face the fact that flaws will emerge.

Almost 16 years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, the fragility of our devolved government is once more apparent. Justice is the cry from all sides.

Grievances will be aired for years; and most importantly the victims and survivors – and their families – will likely bear the physical and emotional scars to the end of their days. 

But, surely in 2014, we should be building a future for our school age generation that have no memory of ‘the troubles’. Just last week teaching unions were calling for better resources for teachers in special needs schools across Northern Ireland.

If devolution is built upon foundations of sand, then there is a duty on all politicians, of all shades of opinion, to throw aside their differences, discover a path that accommodates the needs of victims and lays down a solid future for our children. 

Whatever the circumstances of the now ‘infamous’ OTR letters – and more controversies may well emerge when the judge-led inquiry concludes – it is an issue that ultimately only our local politicians can resolve.

The febrile atmosphere of talk shows and hurried news bulletins cannot and should not be the forum for seeking resolution.  

As any able historian may tell you, there is no objective version of history. How we interpret and write our history is determined by our own subjective view on the past.  And when addressing the on-the-runs issue, we can be certain of one thing; there will be no right or wrong way to deal with the facts, if and when they emerge.

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