Belfast Telegraph

Hero's passing a reminder of a past we still have to deal with

Editor's Viewpoint

Today we are reporting the poignant story of Raymond Elliott, who played a heroic part in helping to save the lives of those trapped in the rubble of an explosion which killed 10 people and injured more than 50 others.

Mr Elliott died earlier this week, and his son Stephen has told the Belfast Telegraph about the heroism of his father who never recovered from the horrific sights which he witnessed on that day of the Provisional IRA bomb on the Shankill Road on October 23, 1993.

This is a grim reminder to the rest of us that there are many other victims of the Troubles, as well as those killed or injured, and that as a society we have not yet fully come to terms with what happened, or how best to deal with the consequences of those horrific times.

This issue remains an open wound in our society and the attempts to deal with it have not been successful.

The Eames-Bradley Report had merits but it foundered largely on the recommendation for payment to all the victims or their families, including the perpetrators of violence.

Earlier this week there was another suggestion that a pension might be paid to some of those most badly injured.

But the issue was muddied by the idea that payments might also be made to some of reformed paramilitaries who were also injured.

These matters are immensely complex because they involve emotional values as well as such divisive issues as money, the question of blame and the definition of what is a victim.

Beneath it all, however, is the sad reality that this is above all a human story where people and their families have suffered and continue to suffer.

The inspiring story of the late Raymond Elliot and his family brings this home to us, and reminds the people and politicians on all sides, to try to solve one of the biggest legacies of the Troubles - namely the suffering that we all share.

Belfast Telegraph


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