Snap reaction to Report on the Past presentation

Not a live blog but some of the main elements of the Eames/ Bradley presentation that immediately struck me. It was quite impressive. Integrity combined with political wariness both shone through. There was a small wobble over the “acknowledgment payments” though but they got back on track. At almost an hour, the presentation was too long and apt to stray into sermonising. It was not a presser and they took no questions. Good to see that the disruption from Frazer and Wilson etc., was quite minor, although it was a reminder of the rawness beyond the Europa Hotel conference suite. It was a relief to hear Dennis Bradley calling for “honesty” that the chances of prosecutions after “ 30, 20 even 10 years.. are quite low”.

But we have heard the call for justice. We have kept the potential for justice open….. that is all some people have to hold on to.. That is why we have stopped short of recommending an amnesty.”

But we are really in fuzzy amnesty territory already and everybody knows it. Full honesty will have to wait another five years for the Legacy Commission to finish. Hugh Orde has just said that when the HET or the proposed legacy commission get to the end of the evidential chain, that was the point for third parties to come in. That suggests paramilitary admissions may be some way off.

Eames on the 12k “acknowledgment payment”

“ one of our hardest decisions; it provoked much soul-searching It did not come out of the blue.. (Critics) may think we are putting a monetary value on their loved ones.. this isn’t compensation by another name.. It’s a sign of their loss – we’re saying sorry for your trouble.. Were we too sudden?.. a mistake or wrong timing?.. if so we apologise.. We may have forgotten that we have been at this for 18 months.. It may take some people a little longer. But we hope at the end of five years, all the payments that can be made will have been made.”

So how will the payments system work? Will they be made after each case has been reviewed by the legacy commission or simply on application once the system has been set up?

Bradley on “story-telling” was fascinating. He did not make a direct appeal for the paramilitaries and security forces to confess but that is what he meant.

“It isn’t just our own stories that need to be heard. If it is only our own stories there is great danger in us becoming sectarian.. We need to hear community stories, policing stories, army stories, government stories .. the whole story…

And he made a tilt at the knee-jerk reaction of “the politicians” to the report.

“If the accommodation stays only a the political level.”. it will not produce reconciliation. “They need to give us a vision of a shared future. A political settlement on the Hill is not enough.”

Finally Eames

Reconciliation can only be done when it treats everyone equally”

Which begs several questions.

  • ??

    Reconciliation can only be done when it treats everyone equally”

    Which begs several questions……………..

    There can never be equality between murdering scumbag terrorists and innocent victims

  • Greenflag

    Equality ? Where on earth will you find ‘equality’ . The only equality is in death . There are of course those ‘believers’ who hope for justice the other side of the mortal coil . I would’nt bet on enjoying a ringside seat in the throne room surrounded by heavenly cherubs watching safely from on high Paisley being roasted to a turn on an eternal spit alongside McGuinness and others including the great Maggie herself alongside Oliver Cromwell not to mention every Northern Secretary of State since Callaghan’s time 🙁

    One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter . The Allied Governments who killed 20 times more civilians than the Germans killed in air raids over Britain in their indiscriminate bombing raids over Germany in WW2 were just as much ‘terrorists ‘ as the nazis who terrorised the peoples of europe . They are not regarded as ‘terrorists ‘for two reasons

    a) They won the war
    b) They can at least claim that the terror they inflicted was done in pursuit of ending the war more quickly than otherwise would have been the case ( in some cases patently untrue but at least plausible )

    The nazis have no such answer as they were not just intent on terror but on wholesale extermination of an entire people/peoples .

    The ‘terror’ btw was more than ‘equally ‘felt y the citizens of Hamburg , Dresden and other German cities than those of London , Bermingham or Coventry .

    Forget about this nonsense of reconciliation and just hand out the ‘blood ‘ money . Neither side fully acknowledges the other side’s high moral ground in this stupid conflict and neither side ever will . Just get on with and over it !

    Other countries and regions have suffered thousands of times more death and destruction and don’t go on with a tenth of the unctous moralising with which the people and politicians of Northern Ireland seem to enjoy indulging in 🙁

    Does anybody seriously believe that this ‘money’ will prevent a future conflict in Northern Ireland from emerging if the circumstances should ever warrant one ? e.g in a situation where for instance 51% vote for a UI and the ‘new’ minority decide to resist by ‘terror’ ?

    The Eames /Bradley team should eschew all talk of a 5 year ‘digging up’ of all the cases and instead just send out the requisite ‘blood ‘ money immediately if not sooner to the next of kin in line or by descent of all the dead .

    It could even be sold as a local Northern Ireland solution to a Northern Ireland problem from an ‘economic ‘ stimulus viewpoint !

  • Stephen Dedalus

    Amnesty can be the only resolution. It would not only apply to so called “terrorists” such as the IRA and UFF but also to those who have insighted sectarian hatred for decades eg. Rev. Ian Paisley.