The actual report from the Eames/Bradley-chaired consultative group won’t be published until this summer, if it’s on time, but ahead of tonight’s public meeting it looks like the same anonymous sources close to that group have briefed the BBC’s Mark Devenport, UTV’s Ken Reid and the Press Association’s Dan McGinn on what they’ve been considering and the feedback so far. Whether it’s just to generate more publicity, to worry interested parties, or to prepare the public for those recommendations, isn’t entirely clear. The PA report probably has the most comprehensive detail
It is considering making the PSNI Historic Enquiries Team, which re-examines all deaths in the Troubles between 1968 and 1998, independent and widening its remit to cover the Republic. The team operates under the PSNI and only in the North.
It has apparently uncovered new claims of collusion between paramilitaries and security forces during the course of its work.
The group is also considering encouraging killers to own up to their crimes in return for an amnesty as part of a truth recovery process.
According to sources other options open for discussion include drafting a covenant that people could sign committing them to non-violent means and creating an audio/visual database of testimonies given in the truth recovery exercise.
It is understood the consultative body has not found much support for a South African-style Truth and Reconciliation Commission, however,
Sources said feedback so far indicated that many victims were also tired of public inquiries and tribunals into a number of controversial killings.
Although, the South African model, as far as I can recall, was based on an amnesty in return for testimony.. with the additional point that those who refused to testify were open to prosecution..
And perhaps they should also consider that the lack of enthusiasm for public inquiries and tribunals could be connected to the inability of those inquiries and tribunals to deliver what interested parties set out to achieve.
Because conflict has been underpinned by selective remembering in which grief becomes grievance, it is foolish to believe that if we ignore the recent past it will go away. In the Irish experience, both nationalists and unionists have been all too adept at constructing versions of the past in which they feature only as victims, never as victimisers. There is every reason to believe that, without a serious collective attempt to deal with the legacy of the Troubles, it too will be assimilated into competing tribal myths.
Some people would prefer that we forgot completely about the entire 20th Century..