“You hear a bang, and it’s too late…”

Just listen to this. Morning Ireland repeated a recording first made on Christmas Eve 1999, to mark the publication of one of the most powerful and simply written books of the Troubles: Lost Lives. The quote above is from George Mitchell’s quotation of the simple and moving words of a desperately remorseful loyalist killer Billy Giles… The new edition is due to be issued in January..

  • Secur O’Crat

    Lest we forget.

  • I have many books on my shelves but none stands out so painfully as Lost Lives. It is the only book I have which I don’t want to open but am compelled to do so. It is the only book I have which most times brings tears to my eyes, I can only read a few entries at a time – more are just too much.

    It is generally good to ‘forget’ bad memories but in this case it is essential to remember. To the authors I say thanks, because I can so easily forget.

  • Brendan, Belfast

    All true – the authors deserve huge credit. as for ‘desperately remorseful Billy Giles’ i am sure his remorse is a great comfort to the family of whomever he murdered.

  • Realist

    “as for ‘desperately remorseful Billy Giles’ i am sure his remorse is a great comfort to the family of whomever he murdered”


    Do you think so?

    Would someone expressing genuine remorse if they had murdered one of your loved ones bring you any comfort?


    Lost lives ought to be essential reading for every adult on the islands of Ireland and Britain.
    Whilst I offer a sincere thanks to the authors, it is a matter of deep regret that we need a new edition.
    May this be the last.

  • willis

    In the light of the exchanges between Pastor McClinton and the flower of the DUP it is worth reading 1928 Harry Bradshaw.

    There is a lot to be said for real remorse.

  • brendan,belfast

    No realist, it wouldn’t give a single drop of consolation. maybe the killers take comfort from their own remorse and maybe thats important but my thoughts would always be with the victim, not the murderer.

  • Don

    “Just listen to this.” Yep, everyone should, we all deserve to. This excerpt reduced me to tears – I cannot even begin to imagine these people’s pain. I lived through this but I still can’t understand, nor never will, how anyone can inflict such pain on another human being.

  • Secur O’Crat

    Putting Lost Lives on a website with a wiki page per fatality would be a good idea. I wonder what percentage of such pages would be vandalised.

  • same old story

    How typical of Mitchell to ignore the numerically superior murderers of the republican community.

  • Secur O’Crat

    Same Old Story. You prove my point. In the earlier piece, as I remember it, all comers were asked their piece. Even in this cut, David Trimble gives his take and it is a good (= poignant) one. I guess for you, it really is the same old story. I pity you.

  • miss fitz

    Secur O’Crat
    There is a little work being done in the area of creating such a website. Should be more news about that around the beginning of February. Several groups are working on issues around this.

  • Secur O’Crat

    Miss Fitz: That would truly be good and would that the site was respected. TYhey each have their story and each was once a new born child, which equates to unsullied hope. With regard to the recent brutal (by definition) murder of five prostitutes in England, it was poignant to read about them and “good” that the next home game of Ipswich had a service and appeal. Ex malo bonum. If we don’t believe that, we too should top ourselves. Indeed, looking at people like Michael McGoldrick who turned his son’s loss at the hands of King Rat into good (and similarly people killed in the Frizell’s bomb attack), one can live in hope. Yes, and Enniskillen too. But we must eventually lay down the drums and let the true, quiet heroes emerge.

  • same old story

    The literal fact is that republicans murdered two thirds of the death toll in the troubles: two thirds of this sequence were loyalist killers.
    I pity you for not seeing relevance of this casual sectarianism from RTE (replicated through the republic in general as a rule).