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Call for files on past to be closed sends out wrong message that our victims should suffer in silence

letter of the day: we can't ignore history

Published 25/10/2016

Chris Ryder's suggestion (Comment, October 19) that all files on the past should be closed, so that everybody can move on, is, in effect, telling the bereaved, the injured and the traumatised that what happened to them no longer matters and they should be quiet and suffer in silence - as most do. And it is plain wrong.

However, it is dressed up, at the core is "ignore them and they'll go away".

He is right that not everyone will get what they want from whatever structures are set up, but that is not a reason to deny those who could have the opportunity to truly deal with the past.

The Wave Trauma Centre is in its 25th year serving victims and survivors from across the community. We have, on average, 700 new referrals a year, with an age range from seven to 94.

The hope, implicit in Chris Ryder's approach, that time and mortality will resolve the "past", is a vain one.

As to his suggestion that money saved be directed to those who need help, like the severely injured, he seems to have forgotten what happened when Eames/Bradley suggested a modest recognition payment to families of those who were bereaved during the Troubles.

The reaction to it did irreparable damage to a thoughtful and well-argued report.

What victims and survivors need is what they have been repeatedly promised since the Good Friday Agreement: an inclusive and comprehensive way to deal with the past.

It is up to the British and Irish governments and our Executive and Assembly to deliver it.

PROFESSOR JEAN ORR CBE

Chair, Wave Trauma Centre

Belfast Telegraph

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