Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Pub bombing inquests may bring some kind of closure that bereaved in Northern Ireland fear they may never achieve

The aftermath of the bomb attack on the Mulberry Bush pub (PA)
The aftermath of the bomb attack on the Mulberry Bush pub (PA)

Editor's Viewpoint

The jurors at the inquests into the victims of the Birmingham bombings have concluded they were "unlawfully killed" by the Provisional IRA, which in plain language means that they were murdered.

During the hearings harrowing evidence was heard of what happened and, although these dreadful events took place 45 years ago, there is still an immediacy about the horror and the hurt involved.

Relatives of the victims gave moving and graphic accounts of the loss they still feel and rightfully they have urged the police to bring the killers to justice.

Given the reality that no-one has yet been convicted of these dastardly crimes, it is likely the families and friends will feel deep frustration until they see justice being done.

However, there may be some cathartic effect in the public disclosure and airing of what happened, but the pain will continue as in the case of the wrongfully convicted Birmingham Six, who could never be expected to come to terms with what they went through.

It may be that some people achieve a recovery of sorts, but we know all too well in Northern Ireland that, while life has to go on in some form after such a loss, things will never be the same again.

The evidence heard in Birmingham has also been a sad yet salutary reminder to us of the grief and suffering which the Troubles exported around the world.

Even if the Birmingham inquests may not on their own bring closure, at least they have taken place after far too long.

Sadly over here the important legacy issues continue to be a 'will-o-the wisp', with relatives incessantly searching for justice but being unable to find it.

And even more unfortunate, some of them are beginning to think that somehow their long search for closure has become a kind of problem for the rest of us and that they may be regarded as pariahs. Or with the passage of time, they may die without ever getting the closure and justice they so rightfully deserve.

The resolution of this deeply sad and frustrating situation, where an increasingly ageing group of the bereaved and heartbroken can find some solace, rests firmly with Stormont politicians and successive Secretaries of State, who so far have shown an inability to deal with the issue.

The marked failure to do so properly simply victimises people over and over again and remains a stain on all of us.

Belfast Telegraph

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