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Victim's son not helping families by entering row

THERE is no doubt that there are legacy issues relating to the conflict that need resolved to allow victim families access to the truth and, therefore, be able to move forward. In order to do that, there needs to be a process of trust that will allow former combatants to come forward with information.

A perfect example of this is the Commission for the Disappeared, who have worked with former members of the IRA to retrieve the majority of the bodies disappeared.

The intervention of Austin Stack in a political row over the existence of the IRA was, I believe, a mistake and will only hamper the search by other families in accessing the story around their loss.

Mr Stack sought verification from the IRA that they had shot his father and was facilitated by Sinn Fein in gaining some closure to the circumstances around his father's death, but then used the very process to score a political point in attacking republicans.

The approach may jeopardise any further approach by families seeking the truth: why would someone bring forward information that would be used to damage the very movement that they risked life and limb for?

Mr Stack, while understandably having no sympathy with the republican movement, should respect the confidentially of the process and allow other families the same opportunity to find closure as was afforded to him.



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