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Troubles victims need the truth to be told

Editor's Viewpoint

Published 08/02/2016

Chief Constable George Hamilton
Chief Constable George Hamilton

The long-running problem of dealing with the past is being underlined again today by a victims' group in a meeting with the Secretary of State.

They no longer want to be treated as second or third-class citizens, and they feel strongly that the system has conclusively failed to deliver justice, truth and accountability.

Today we publish stories of the enduring pain and misery felt by these people because of the complex outworking - and sometimes the obfuscation of some others - in attempting to heal old wounds and to deal honestly and fairly with these issues.

In the case of the Shankill bomb, there are suggestions that the police had prior knowledge the attack was imminent.

This has been denied strenuously by Chief Constable George Hamilton and by former Special Branch officer Jim Gamble.

Nevertheless, such a claim, and the denials by senior police officers, is disturbing for the families of the victims who have had to wait so long to find out the truth.

We also report the story of Jonathan Ganesh, who was seriously injured in the London Docklands bombing.

On the eve of the 20th anniversary of this dastardly bomb attack, Mr Ganesh reveals how he is still haunted by the scenes of carnage, as he bravely continues to campaign for justice.

These stories underline the ongoing heartache of the victims of violence and their relatives, who deserve our deep sympathy - and also much more determined action from the authorities.

The people who should have been prioritised have been kept on the waiting list, and this continues to be a running stain throughout the long peace process.

Failure to deal with this properly will continue to cascade the hurt down the generations, and will make it more difficult to bring about healing and a fresh start.

There is an imperative to find a way through this distressing issue, and although there are reports that some groups are close to a solution, this remains to be seen.

There still seems to be little agreement on one of the basic issues - as to who is a victim.

In the meantime clarity, truth and recognition are needed for the Shankill relatives, for Mr Ganesh, and for the thousands of unfortunate others who suffered so badly during the Troubles.

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