The Historical Enquiries Team has amassed a database as ‘big as a B&Q’ according to Liam Clarke at the Sunday Times today.
The data is held in the “most advanced central store in the UK”, according to Dave Cox, climate-controlled and its access managed by computer. The information on the 3,268 killings is linked by a specially designed analytical database that groups the deaths – paramilitary murders and security force killings – into 2,516 separate incidents. The material for this giant repository was gathered from police stations across the province, as well as military records, MI5 case papers and published sources. Its location is being kept secret for fear of sabotage. Some particularly sensitive files relating to security force collusion are held in London under the care of a “white team” of retired detectivesWhile Clarke makes the point that the information is proving useful to relatives who are seeking more information about the death of their lost ones, I wonder if thats as good as its going to get? Will every single case take the determination of a Eugene Reavey who pushed and prodded until his brothers were exonerated?
Indeed, the question has to be asked yet again: Can we handle the truth? For anyone genuinely interested in this area, Dr Kieran McEvoy published a very extensive and comprehensive report on the issues around truth recovery last year. I’ve linked the Executive Summary, which is essential reading for anyone who wants to develop a fuller understanding of this area.
For the moment, we are left in this land of limbo, where we are accumulating information and evidence, but I’m not sure we have yet convinced ourselves why we are doing so, or how far it can ever be taken.