Don’t abandon OTR legislation…

Denis Bradley urges the British government not to abandon the current OTR legislation regardless of the pressure on them from all sides now, including a ‘stung’ Sinn Fein. He argues that “talk about positive proposals for truth, recognition and remembrance that put victims’ rights at their heart are fine words but they could imply anything from a victims’ remembrance centre to 400 or more inquiries. And, in my opinion, to put victims at the heart of this issue is foolish and cruel. It is not good therapy and it is worse politics”.

  • How about putting justice at the heart of it!

  • Crataegus

    Bertie

    I agree, but there are so many with a vested interest in insuring we don’t get Justice. Not least of which is HM Gov. Justice requires truth and that is the last thing this government will allow. Every revelation will be extracted painfully and begrudgingly, but without truth there never be trust.

  • Crat

    Indeed. I suspect that whatever they do will be spun interms of victims but actually justice is the higher calling, victims should come high but justice should come first. So if victims can be used as an excuse to give up on justice then this will be done.

  • Pete Baker

    Denis Bradley says – “to put victims at the heart of this issue is foolish and cruel. It is not good therapy and it is worse politics.”

    That is certainly true. But the NI (Offences) Bill is equally bad politics.. an acknowledged result of private negotiations.. not democratic debate by the elected representatives of the people.

    No surprise that Hain’s fingerprints are all over it, given the contempt he has shown for the rule of law, and accountability, since becoming Secretary of State for NI.. nor that SF were not unduly concerned about the Bill until mounting pressure forced them to perform a public volte-face.

  • martin ingram

    Bertie & craetgus,

    I could not agree more, victims and justice should be the focus.

    Wait and see what the Gerry and Martin accompanied by their best mate tony bring forward this time.

    In any event, I think there will be that many holes in any agreement that does not uphold the Human rights act that it wont be worth the paper it is written upon. That said bring it on.

    Martin.

  • Henry94

    Justice like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It nees to be sorted out and everybody knows it. So we do what we do best. Let the British and Irish governments take the actual grown-up decisions while we all posture on the issue while refusing to offer any proposal other than that which our most knuckle-headed supporters can raise a drunken cheer to.

    Hian should make good his threat and withdraw the super-dole form the assembly members. They don’t deserve to be paid for a job they won’t do.

    The two governments should ignore the parties until the parties come to them with an agreed proposal for devolved government.

    Indulging spoilt children only makes them worse.

    Fair play to Denis Bradley.

  • Yeah it’s knuckle headed to want murderers to be brought to justice. What was I thinking of?

    The matter should be “sorted out” by the criminal investigations being persued and those responsible brought to book.

    If letting murders and terrorists is grown up then I am Peter Pan!

  • martin ingram

    Henry 94

    Quote The two governments should ignore the parties until the parties come to them with an agreed proposal for devolved government. Unquote.

    Are you a comedian? How many SOS have come and gone since the GFA was signed?.

    Quote “Hian should make good his threat and withdraw the super-dole form the assembly members. They don’t deserve to be paid for a job they won’t do. Unquote”

    Agreed, that said they should never be paid if the assembly is not sitting.

    Quote “Justice like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It nees to be sorted out and everybody knows it” Unquote

    Yes it does need to be sorted but in a public forum and with the consent of the public, otherwise how do you obtain closure? This agreement should not be negotiated behind closed doors and without all parties being clear who is to benefit and on what terms.

    Martin.

  • Henry94

    bertie

    That is exactly the kind of cost-free grandstanding that I’m talking about. It is only possible for those who have no responsibility and refuse to take any responsibility.

    Decommissioning and the OTRs were all part of the Acts of Completion. You can only cheery pick when you don’t expect to be taken seriously.

  • Henry

    I din’t give a flying picket if you call it cost-free grabdstanding or not. Agvocating that murderers get a way with it is a disgraceful thing to argue for and however you try to spin it that is what Bradley is advocating. As fpr responsibility, everyone has a responsibility to oppose it!

  • It is telling that Bradley thinks that “..in my opinion, to put victims at the heart of this issue is foolish and cruel.” The Belfast Agreement was based on foolishness and cruelty to the victims of terrorism, so I suppose the kindest thing one could say is that Denis the menace is that he is consistent. And wrong.

  • Crataegus

    Henry

    I agree with you regarding the Assembly but that is a separate issue from the OTR Legislation.

    Covering up murder and collusion is the easy option, and is not the statesman like thing to do. Society has to have standards. We ignore Justice at our peril. Grievance will fester and resurface.

    The hard option in the short run is the truth, but in the long run it is the only course that will move us forward constructively.

  • aquifer

    Creating some space for victims could have been something simple like some new forests of remembrance. We are short of trees anyhow.

    Nothing like that happened. No surprise there.

    There are probably more stone memorials to paramilitaries, and certainly more painted gables, though those at least will fade.

    I suspect our politicians do not want to make too much of a fuss about victims, as they bear a fair bit of responsibility for the last lot. One or two might even want to reserve the option of creating a few more if things don’t go their way.

    Bradley is right, some nasty stuff has to be passed over for the greater good.

    We have to be magnanimous in victory. We did not end up all murdering one another over flags or faiths, so we all won.

  • Henry94

    Painting the word “Justice” on a big wind-bag doesn’t make it any less of a wind-bag.

    bertie

    everyone has a responsibility to oppose it!

    Everybody is. At least all parties are. Hain should give them a month to come up with a cross community consensus on an alternative proposal. When they can’t he should proceed with his plans.

  • Alan

    *We have to be magnanimous in victory. We did not end up all murdering one another over flags or faiths, so we all won.*

    So everyone wins and no-one was wrong? I can’t accept that, if only for the lies that it will tell to the next generation.

    We are not in the same position as South Africa. There they had a clear victor. Here we are all losers, left with a legacy of bitterness, the dead and throttled futures. If we ignore that and step lightly into a new day, we do our children a great disservice.

    There has to be a commentary on the horror that we went through – or it will be repeated.

    *Hain should give them a month to come up with a cross community consensus on an alternative proposal. When they can’t he should proceed with his plans.*

    In which case you must think us extraordinarily inattentive to SF intentions.

    The inevitable result of that scenario would be that SF get what they wanted anyway, while the Govt get to take the oppobrium and fight the inevitable Human Rights cases ( which they will lose ).

  • Henry
    justice may be just a word to you but it is more than that to me. The alternative is for the guilty to be poresued and if possible brough to justice. Therfore th option os not to have an amnesty.

    aquifier
    “Bradley is right, some nasty stuff has to be passed over for the greater good.

    We have to be magnanimous in victory. We did not end up all murdering one another over flags or faiths, so we all won. ”

    It is precisely for the greater good that we must not pass over the nasty stuff! There has not been a victory. In fact this legislation would underpin defeat. With the relaease of terrorists under the GFA we have already lost too much.

    BTW I have just noticed how badly worded my last post was. I stand by the sentiments but the prose would have had my old English teacher spinning.

  • Henry,
    Does your 1016 post mean you support the OTR legislation?
    AS for the acts of completion why didn’t sf/ira complete this in 2000 as promised? Why the 5 year wait?

  • BogExile

    ‘some nasty stuff has to be passed over for the greater good’

    Yeah, right. That’s the moral and intellectual equivalent of an oncologist telling the patient, ‘Well, you’ve got this tumour, but instead of treating it to make sure you get better, why don’t I just tell you, you’re better instead?’

    That’s righteous Shinnerism for you!

  • Henry94

    II

    Does your 1016 post mean you support the OTR legislation?

    Broadly yes.

    AS for the acts of completion why didn’t sf/ira complete this in 2000 as promised? Why the 5 year wait?

    I don’t speak for either organisation and in any case I’m not that interested in going over old ground. Decommissioning happened. Sorting out the OTR situation must happen too.

  • Thanks for the clarification Henry, good to see a republican that can finally admit that any RUC officer or soldier that was involved in the extemination of his/her enemy should not face a prison sentence. Probably the first time that I agreed with you on anything!

  • Henry94

    Intelligence Insider

    I don’t want to see anyone going to prison for anything that happened during the conflict. That includes RUC and British Army people.

    Where there was coullsion and state murder and you accept there was I would like to see the truth told.

    Where there are outstanding questions about murders carred out by the republican movment or any of the paramilitary organisations I would also like to see the truth come out.

  • elfinto

    Intelligence Insider,

    The problem is that RUC / British Army personnel did not only ‘exterminate the enemy’, they mainly exterminated innocent people on the basis of their perceived religion or political affiliation. The climate of terror fostered by the activities of state sponsored death squads generated massive resentment and only served to prolong the confict. Having said that, there is nothing to be gained from putting people behind bars now. But the truth must come out. I would say the same about republicans who are seeking effective amnesty. They must be prepared to tell the truth about the past.

  • IJP

    I’ve a lot of time for Mr Bradley, but these comments are frankly mindless bunkum.

    The point is not that victims should be placed at the centre of the process, but that terrorists are being placed at the centre of the process.

    Victims and survivors, in my experience, want nothing to do with party politics and rightly not. What they do not want, however, is a process which makes those who committed the acts of which they are victims the most important part.

    If you ask me am I more concerned about the future of a family of an innocent victim (or indeed an innocent exile), or about the future of a non-convicted and unrepentant terrorist, I make no excuse for prioritizing the former. The Government is prioritizing the latter. Not only is that morally mindless, it simply does not work.

    If you want peace and reconciliation, it is not generally a good idea to ignore those who already practise it to the benefit of those who do not and have no intention to do so.

  • martin ingram

    Elfinto.

    You see that is the problem on all sides my friend.The Truth. That is not on the Agenda, that is why we had the aborted attempt at sweeping it under the carpet.

    For the record I agree with you 100%.

    Martin.

  • elfinto

    Martin,

    To desire the truth (or even part of it) is probably naive. But sometimes we get a glimpse of it. For instance the PSNI recently released ballistic reports which have been kept secret for 30 years which point to the involvement of an RUC gang in the murders of the Reavey brothers at Whitecross. If media reports are to believed the Ombudsman is about to publish a damning report detailing collusion between the Special Branch and the UVF in North Belfast during the 1990s. But this is still only scratching the surface.

    Robin Jackson, Billy Wright, C Company, etc. Who was pulling the strings? How can ordinary people be expected to put their faith in a state whose agencies systematically collude in the murder of totally innocent people and which continues to cover this fundamental truth?

  • aquifer

    Alan and Bogexile

    You are of course correct in pointing out the dangers of ‘passing over’ cruel and criminal acts, in that this sends a rotten moral signal, inviting future transgressions. My omission, and I hope that the arguments over OTRs correct it.

    My point would be that opening up vast numbers of cases in public would leave sectarian protaganists free to ‘cherry pick’ details in those that fitted their own mode of imagined victimhood, possibly destabilising the political process.

    We may be able to handle the truth, but not just at the minute.

    The British and Irish Governments are democratically accountable and are entitled to insist that SFPIRA honour the terms of the GFA. Even by obscuring their offenses, pre and post the GFA.