“if our new democratic institutions aren’t strong enough to withstand the truth..”

Brian Rowan, writing in the Sunday Life, has a suggestion for the Eames/Bradley consultation group should they want to “take the bull by the horns” – which they should. Interesting to note that the Deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, presumably with his party political hat on, had distanced both himself and the First Minister, the DUP’s Ian Paisley, from what he described as Peter Hain’s “unilateral decision” by denying that either of them had been consulted before the announcement was made. And while we’re on this topic there was an important point made in an article, on one recent controversial decision, by Susan McKay in the Irish Times recently [subs req].

Anyway, how can it possibly be right to ignore evidence of such corruption, and to refuse to learn the real history of the Troubles? The British will look bad, Sinn Féin has dirty hidden history and so has the DUP. But if our new democratic institutions aren’t strong enough to withstand the truth, they aren’t strong enough.

Brian Rowan’s suggestion in the Sunday Life

The talk before the consultative group was announced was that there would be “a big conversation” and a “blank sheet” – no pre-determined outcomes.

In that, there is room to be bold.

As part of what they are doing, the Eames/Bradley group should invite the IRA army council, the UVF and Red Hand Commando brigade staff and the UDA inner council to send representatives to a specially-convened conference.

Those who can speak for the police, the Army and the security services should also be there, as well as representatives of the relevant governments and political parties. The conference should take as long as it needs to establish what the parties to the conflict are prepared to contribute in answering and explaining that past.

That’s the bull by the horns.


It has to be about all sides – all of them answering and explaining, however difficult, however awkward.

It is, of course, entirely possible that if such a conference were to be called, that there would be those who would stay away. Maybe more would stay away than would attend.

That in itself would tell us something about who is prepared to step out of those shadows and who wants to continue to hide in them.

There may, however, be another flaw in the suggestion. In that the groups he’s pointing to as being necessary participants in that conference include those responsible for the amnesiacs deal – and those who would have a vested interest in continuing to tip-toe round the past.

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  • Dewi

    Pete – there’s a good article about Orange Order parades in the Independent on Sunday – can u link to that ?

  • parcifal

    On topic

    “Lying awake, calculating the future,
    Trying to unweave, unwind, unravel
    And piece together the past and the future,
    Between midnight and dawn, when the past is all deception,
    The future futureless, before the morning watch
    When time stops and time is never ending”

    (from the dry salvages)

    dewi eyed that article too:

  • I wonder…

    I have said before, and I will restate my view that Ronbin Eames and Dnis Bradkley personanlly represent all tyhat is forwarde looking about each of the ciommuntiies that they reprrssnt adn their views in the future, as in the past, will see all of through to a new Ulster, a new Irleand. E

    very time that either has represented their vieqws in a personal capcity, they have echoed my view, whether, I be an Ulster Protestant or a Six Counties Catholic, they have echoed a True majority. A majority of sensible people – sensible is something that doesn’t discriminate between Catholic and Protestant

    (PS Can my IP be liftd from internment as I think expressing views about an individual who expressed views in the public media shouldnt be a ground for being banned) I have never been other than a passionate poster for reasonable debate.

  • I agree that the Eames/Bradley consultation group have got to take the bull by the horns. The Truth and Reconciliation Committee worked so well in South Africa because it dealt with the harsh truths of the past. This is what must be done here also. If we don’t know our history we are condemned to repeat it. There is also a cleansing component to dealing with the past in this manner. Once this has been done we can truly begin to move forward.

  • same old stuff

    for the benifit of the office worker,
    that ground breaking and totally balanced indepentant piece reduced to its core points and phrases,

    “the happy spectacle. .”

    Orangemen in their regalia, skanking

    shout angry abuse

    hatred in the eyes

    “We’re up to our necks in Fenian blood … surrender or you’ll die.”


    The ultra-loyalist Dr Ian Paisley, destroyer of peace talks,

    stubborn, aggressive bigotry


    But what, exactly, are they celebrating?


    his argument loses its fluff,

    “,so we have.”

    squinting slightly

    Grand Lodge of the Orange Order but there is little grand about him.

    three boys were killed in an arson attack in 1998, on the eve of the 12th. The youngest was nine and the oldest 11.

    Breandan MacCionnaith.

    . “The Orange Order cannot absolve themselves from what happened in their name.”

    . must now live with the increasing presence of different nationalities and skin tones.

    a man with long, curly hair and a floppy hat. King Billy, or Prince William of Orange,

    supported by the pope


    Catholic King James II

    our taxes should pay for the rebuilding of the Order?

    In a city where you can still get a beating for wearing the wrong kind of cross?

  • observer

    who wrote this shite, brian from boston?

  • Northsider

    The past is poisonous. For years and years and years the great and the good told us to forget about the past – the move on, to let our grievances and perceived injustices lie as they were only blocking our road to a brighter future.

    The brighter future is here, and yet what are some of the same people telling us: whatabout whatabout whatabout!

    The past only corrupts the present when it is still close, while we can still feel the heat from it.

    Let it lie and move on. Then – after a period of years – let’s reassess it. Now is not the time.