Hain to launch ‘dealing with the legacy’ review

According to the UTV report, the Secretary of State for Wales, etc, Peter Hain has decided that we have to “deal with the legacy of the Troubles.” What he actually means by that isn’t exactly clear as there’s not a lot of detail, but the report claims that the NIO have confirmed that an independent review of how we do that is expected to last 18 months.. In the meantime, no doubt, we’ll be expected to twiddle our thumbs not to ask stupid questions. Or it could just be a question of, belatedly, seeking agreement for the plans for the 20th Century by-pass.. Adds There’s very little detail here either, but there is a quote.And that quote is

A Northern Ireland Office source said: “There’s no question of government trying to impose solutions because that would not work and we have to see if we can reach a consensus on how we deal with the past.”

He said the initiative, covering the 30 years of conflict and expected to take 18 months, would take into account all views.

Bit late to be denying trying to impose solutions.. and now the second report claims it’s to be an “independent rethink on how to deal with unsolved murders during the Troubles.” Wasn’t that supposed to be the job of the Historical Enquiries Team?

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  • People should consider how memory has evolved after past conflicts. In the context of a war, people adjust to a normality which is shocking in retrospect. Today you couldn’t persuade any broadcaster or publisher to take a programme or book about the kneecappings of the past thirty years, affecting thousands of men currently living with leg injuries. In five years from now, someone will come along with a book based on interviews with a few of them, naming the people who shot them, and a generation that was not innured to this will be staggered by it.

    Today the Troubles is boring. It won’t always be.

    Someeone will write about the bomb teams sent out like cannon fodder with bombs on fixed timers that blew up on them if they didn’t get to the target on time. Half the IRA members who died in the early ’70s, died by their own bombs going off like that.

    You can comfirm that in the IRA’s own records, in the Tirghra.

    And similar stories about the cynicism and sectarianism in political parties and institutions, about links between loyalists and politicians will all come out, and when they do, it may be to an audience that will be beyond comprehending the excuses.

    Maurice Hayes is right to speculate that these stories might shake the system, but the answer is not to bury the past but prepare for the shocks that will come.

    And how do you do that? Preferably by getting the schools to insure that children are well taught about the full complexity of the troubles and keeping the propagandists at bay.

    And if people in prominent office fear that they are vulnerable, then better that they take retirement and we have a political system that is free of the old killers and safer against shock disclosures.

  • Baby steps towards a TRC in about five years, after a period of stable, so to speak govt in the North.

    It is only after devolved power becomes the norm can the real horrors of the dark days be revealed via TRC.

    Attempting to rush this process could, in light of some horrors being made public, be the trigger for a resumption of violence.

    Especially as those who were on the front lines, from both sides, who made big money during the last decades and have had their black money scrutinized, would only need an excuse to resume violence to mask their continued black money making.

    The truth will come, if at all, at the end of the first decade of devolved power no sooner, in my opinion.

  • redbull

    Since when did the NIO take into consideration any consultation reccommendations? The NIO attitude is if it doesn’t suit them is to Bin it.
    Will this latest consultion be any different or is it already destined for the BIN

  • belfastpaul


    Excellent stuff. The past remains crucial as it will have a negative import until the issue of loss and harm is explained without bias. This is the most important aspect that remains.

    If we believe that the conflict was anything but pernicious then we remain deluded. This does not mean finger pointing but being accountable.

    Harm came in many forms, brutal violence, sectarian language, putting people in ‘coventry’ and even turning a blind eye. Healing can only come after recognising hurt and that aint no CRC drivel, its much more than that.