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Bereaved of Troubles crying out for truth

Editor's Viewpoint

Dealing with the past is one of the major problems contributing to the current impasse at Stormont. Much finger-pointing and apportioning of blame has gone on, but the reality is that the bereaved continue to be let down by our politicians.

Today we publish stories of two of those bereaved, which encapsulate the enduring festering sore that is the legacy of the Troubles.

Norbert McCaughey, whose son was killed by a bomb planted by the infamous loyalist Glenanne gang, died on Sunday. His wife had predeceased him some years ago. They got partial justice when one of the gang was jailed but never found out the real truth about the attack that killed four people 41 years ago.

Like so many other bereaved, two loving parents have died and their quest for justice and truth now passes to another generation.

Mary Moreland, who was widowed and left with two young children nine days before Christmas when her husband, a part-time UDR man, was murdered by the IRA has had even less justice. No one was ever convicted of his killing.

Now she has become the first person from Northern Ireland to head up the War Widows Association. No doubt she will be an inspiring choice as she has lived almost 30 years with the hurt and grief of loss. She can relate to those she serves in her new position.

For those of us fortunate enough to be left untouched by the Troubles - in the sense that no one belonging to us was killed or injured - it can be difficult to imagine how those bereaved still feel.

But the stories of Mrs Moreland and Mr McCaughey remind us that the pain never goes away. They were able to recall in detail how, when and what they were doing when they heard the awful news of their loved ones' deaths. Their story can be replicated thousands of times.

They ask for nothing more than anyone who has lost a loved one through violence wants - truth about the incident and justice where possible. That is not an impossible demand, but a right. They are entitled to both.

And it must hurt them each time politicians say they want to help the bereaved, raising hopes and then dashing them again as some new obstacle to progress emerges. The grief of the bereaved will not go away - although some may wish it - and the bitter legacy of the Troubles is passed down the generations. We cannot continue to fail them.

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