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Heartbreaking experiences of Troubles bereaved could be used to inform a more peaceful future

letter of the day: dealing with past

I'VE indicated on a number of occasions that I feel it is unlikely that a satisfactory agreement on dealing with the past will be reached. At the same time, it is understandable that, for a variety of reasons, many of those whose loved ones were lost, or bereaved, continue to pursue both truth and justice.

Other people, for their own reasons, have decided not to seek further information or legal redress. Such gestures have made a significant contribution to our society becoming relatively peaceful and stable.

Surely we can find a way of recognising the sacrifice of those who are not asking for active investigations of their loved one's death or injury? Particularly when a relatively small number of inquests, ombudsman's investigations and police investigations are still taking place.

For instance, a coroner could hold a public hearing, during which a family could state that it agrees to a suspension of any investigation or inquiry. The family members would get the opportunity to explain what happened to them, its consequences and the proceedings would be recorded. It would be restricted to parents, spouses, children and brothers or sisters only.

The archive would form something like an extension of the information in the book Lost Lives. Initially, it would cover those who had lost their lives, but eventually, perhaps, it could extend to serious injuries and their impact.

This information would be used to teach young people about the consequences of violence, that can take generations to repair. If it were combined with genuine commitments to reconciliation it could contribute to a constructive atmosphere by dealing with the past in the context of building a hopeful, peaceful future.

In addition, a sum of money could be made available to donate to a designated charity/project, as a lasting testimony to loved ones and their sacrifice.


Holywood, Co Down

Belfast Telegraph


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