Belfast Telegraph

Former Troubles soldier 'would shake hands of man who killed friend'

A former British soldier who served in Northern Ireland during the 1990s has said that he would shake the hand of the man that killed his friend in a bomb attack.

Speaking on the BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme, Wayne Ingram said that he wanted to raise awareness about possible post-tramatic stress disorder - a condition he has suffered from - being experienced by people in Northern Ireland as a result of The Troubles.

He also expressed an interest in speaking to former paramilitaries about their experience of violence.

He told host Karen Paterson that during his tour he witnessed two incidents which have stayed with him: the killing of nun Sister Catherine Dunne by a roadside bomb in Armagh in 1990, and the serious injury of his friend in a bomb attack on the Ardoyne Road.

"I remember going back to Girdwood [a former army barracks in north Belfast] at the time and just every time I closed my eyes I saw and I heard the explosion. And at the time really post-traumatic stress wasn’t an issue," he said.

"No one had ever really heard about it. After a couple of weeks it dulled and I got on with my life. The impact of it really came back to me 15 years later.

"The impact of what happened to [his friend] Jamie really reared its ugly head in 2008, 15 years after the event happened. And I think to myself ‘crikey, that happened to me and I was there for six months. What is happening to those members of the IRA, loyalists, anyone who is involved in the conflict? Have they had post-traumatic stress? Are they dealing with post-traumatic stress?’"

Asked if he would shake the hand of the man who killed his friend, Mr Ingram said: "Do you know what, yes I would. Because he was drawn into that violence."

"I think there are many victims. Quite possibly. I think to myself what it would have been like if I was born to a family in Northern Ireland," he said.

"Would I have become a member of the IRA? Would I have become a member of the UVF? I don’t know. If they had been born in the UK would they have become soldiers? I don’t know.

"And that’s a question that has always been there with me really."

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