“We are at a difficult and sensitive period..”

An Irish Times report picks up on comments by Maurice Hayes in the Seanad, asking for postponement of a debate on the Oireachtas committee report on the bombing of a Dundalk pub in the 1970s, which go some way towards revealing how The Process™ works[subs req] [or doesn’t – Ed].From the Irish Times[subs req]

This was an issue that would not go away or be forgotten. Dr Hayes said he respected Mr Walsh’s concern arising from the Kay’s Tavern bombing. However, he wondered if this was the right time to deal with that issue.

“There is an enormous problem with regard to how we deal with memory and the past in a deeply fractured society after a period in which awful things were done on both sides. It might cause further difficulty if we got ourselves into a position of demanding that every stone be turned over on one side and not on the other. If the Senator was a Protestant farmer in south Armagh, he would also think that terrorism was a matter of international terrorism, coming across the Border aimed at him.”

Dr Hayes said that one thing that concerned him was that the report did not put the bombing into context, “as if the events came out of the blue. We need to include that context.

“There is also a weakness in the report. It appears to me that the views of lobby groups were established and accepted as if evidence or gospel fact.

“We are at a difficult and sensitive period in the North as parties are edging closer. If one party thought we in this House were ganging up to throw stones at one side and closing our eyes to what was going on on the other side, it could only do damage. I appeal to the House to postpone that debate and perhaps to include it in a wider debate about how we deal with memory and the sins of the past.”