I wonder how much they cared about the £12K

The launch of Eames Bradley report generated a lot of comment and controversy mostly centred on the recommendation of paying £12,000 to the families of people killed during the conflict/troubles/war.

For three families the debate must have been more difficult than for most as the 28th January was the anniversary of the day their loved ones died:

1972 – Raymond Carroll (22) of the RUC killed by the IRA in Belfast

1989 – Stephen Montgomery (26) of the RUC killed by the IRA in Sion Mills

1993 – Martin McNamee (25) a civilian killed by the UVF near Cookstown

  • blinding

    It would be interesting to get to the bottom of this £12,000 offer.
    Why was this leaked before the day or indeed why was there a value put on all of the victims when it is clearly obvious to anyone that this would create a furore.

    I may be a bit cynical here but for some reason a red rag was waved at the bulls and they duly did what any one could have predicted and perhaps rightly so. This kind of provocative recommendation may have been deliberately included so that it can be later dropped making the rest of the recomendations look very reasonable.

    Excuse the cynism but its got me a bit suspicious.

  • Brian Walker

    You may be right Mark, but what about all the other anniversaries of victims on all sides? Why pick out these people in particular? Aren’t you being conveniently selective and isn’t that part of the problem? Will memorialising the dead in this forum promote reconciliation or understanding? Imagine the response if this became a daily habit..

  • wild turkey

    ‘Imagine the response if this became a daily habit.. ‘

    I do imagine Brian, and your possible with it discomfiture ain’t my problem. for reasons of professionalism and personal sanity perhaps a journalists take on political violence is not dissimilar to the remove that the bombsite affords the bombardier… then again, after seeing Denis Murray on Sky earlier, this is not always the case. He was (and is) a true professional. anyway….

    Mark

    Your post has for me triggered something.

    For a number of reasons; personal, spiritual and medical, this may be last comment for awhile. Over the past 40, 50, whatever, I do not know, years, many many here have lost loved ones in a conflict. That is an obvious and simple truth. But all of us here are, have been and will be blessed by the affection and memories of those we love. Family, colleagues ,lovers ,friends comrades. Some may be gone and hopefully most remain.

    I am outsider, foreigner, blow-in; whatever characterisation suits the many astute and heartfelt commentators on slugger. I have lived here for thirty years and have experienced, at some remove perhaps, the shit we often comment on and argue about. My children are now aged 8 and 9, have triple citizenship/passports and attend a very good integrated (touchy-feely to some) primary school. They are both; vibrant, intelligent, funny ,caring and considerate people. I have been blessed.

    But if now is a time to set aside childish things, the development and practice of some empathy might no go amiss.

    So Mark, a suggestion. For the next year or two (or three hundred years) the TV news, both BBCNI and UTV, on any and every given day cites the names of all those; both civilians and combatants, who were killed or died, on that particular day, in the conflict . Let those names be a simple memorial, reminder … and warning.

    If a physical monument is required, something along the lines of the Vietnam veterans KIA wall in DC might be a starting point. Although, as a veteran of that little conflict I have always had a problem that the wall omitted the names of a couple of million of Vietnamese mothers fathers daughters and… sons , some of whom I killed.

    If we cannot find, and appeal to, the better angels of nature, WE ARE FUCKED. And then there are no victims, only losers.

    Well, I have said my piece and await the indignation, opprobrium and mere dismissal of at least some who inhabit SluggerLand.

    It has been a pleasure.

    Over to you Mac

  • Mark McGregor

    Brian,

    I was thinking about the individual families and stories not being told despite a small and vocal minority being very willing to put themselves in front of the camera. In this case, where so many people and their dog seemed to have an opinion, I thought the best way to demonstrate there are real people, often silent, being impacted on by very public debates and arguments was to highlight those that would be experiencing a very difficult anniversary while the debate raged around them and others decided to speak for them, with or without permision.

    As for ignoring inconvenient truths to promote ‘reconciliation’ that’s a job the MSM has been at for a decade, I’m not for playing that game.

  • William

    Mark and Co., Did any of you find it strange that the likes of Gerry Adams and his thug bodyguards, were afforded ‘personal invitations’ to the launch of the Eames/Bradley report, but the victims group in Claudy were not?

    Gerry was there obviously as the person responsible for the greater majority of the victims…he certainly isn’t one himself.

  • Brian Walker

    Mark, “Individual families being told” is I’m sure worthwhile and perhaps the nearest to justice that can be achieved. I don’t decry that. I wholly support an absence of a hierarchy of victims. But their access would surely be private and not paraded for any side’s propaganda reasons? Wider disclosure – and it should be very wide – would surely have to be made by the officially funded but independent legacy commission in the early stage. This might be a lot for government to swallow but it will be hard to resist. Why not use a section of the universally regarded National Archives under special legislation separate from the existing 30 year ( soon perhaps to be 15 years) rule, and subject to independent redaction under human rights law? Excessive redaction on the government side would cause an uproar and would be counter-productive. There is a problem of paramilitary disclosure of course. Their paperwork might be deficient! The embarrassment of the extent of informers might be balanced ditto of collusion but identities would have to be protected in all cases. This is a fundamental legal obligation. But of course, the state should do the right thing.

    Maybe you’re right that the MSM haven’t done enough. Though note the BBC NI Legacy series and the McKittrick oeuvre – very much about the non- silent majority. But perhaps the media have a nose for some waning of interest?

  • Mark McGregor

    Brian,

    While the intention of this blog was to give some focus to the many not being considered despite the coverage given to politicians, some victims and some very vocal groups representing a small body of those impacted on -you give your views on how to address the ‘past’. For me that along with the focus of many is ignoring an inconvenient truth again. As I’ve tried to highlight recently there is a growing group of people that do not accept this end of history, full-stop, draw a line under the conflict narrative. That alone makes the idea of dealing with ‘legacies’ while the pot still simmers a pointless glossing over of reality.

    There are those that reject the consensus. There are those that will engage in violent resistance to the establishment line – the violence in Craigavon and bomb found in Castlewellan in the last few days amply demonstrates this along with public meetings with increasing numbers of people gathering in rejection of the ‘Agreement’.

    I’m highlighting that many are not representated by those in the media spotlight. And some of my other blogs seek to highlight the inconvenient truth, that no matter how much people want it to be true not everyone has bought into peace processing and the status quo.

  • Brian Walker

    Mark,
    What inconvenient truth are you referring to? Ongoing opposition to the GFA et seq? Don’t we know about that? How will revealing it reconcile the irreconcilables? I genuinely don’t follow you.. What do you want to happen? Forgive me if I haven’t followed your other blogs.

  • Tir Eoghain

    The families of RUC, UDR and the British army have already been compensated for their part in this war.

    Another £12 grand is a bonus to a fair few people that got their mortgages paid for them by their Govt, with the help of overtime and ‘danger money’

    They were very well aware of the risks unlike an innocent civilian waiting for a lift to work,or a pensioner or a pregnant woman.

    12 grand wont work in these cases an inquiry is needed.

  • Earnan

    Active members of the paramilitary groups or security forces should not be compensated.

    The families of soldiers killed already get compensated. Members of the PIRA or loyalist groups knew the risk they were taking when they took their oaths.

    Imagine Bobby Sands turning over in his grave as his family accepted 12000 pounds from the government.

  • Jimmy Sands

    If you’ll forgive my pedantry, this is a pet peeve of mine. A police officer is a civilian.

  • William

    I’m surprised that Brian Walker doesn’t believe in a hierachy of victims….so the perpretators of violence who were killed are the same as their victims. Perhaps Brian [who has family links to Claudy] will answer the question I have asked twice already and Republicans have ignored;

    How are Anthony MacBride [the brother of ‘victims’ commissioner Patricia MacBride] and Shankill bombing murderer, Thomas Begley the same as 9 year-old Kathryn Eakin, killed in the Claudy bombings of 1972, whilst cleaning her Father’s grocery shop window?

    Right Brian….fingers on keyboard with a satisfactory answer !!

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    Life in NI is cheap, according to these payouts.

    A £12,000 price on lives lost in the Troubles ain’t much.

    Family relatives of bombers killed by their own bombs receiving 12 grand is unjust too.

    (But I suppose some folk were driven with rage to do such horrible crimes, just like those who committed the Dublin and Monaghan bombers where 33 people were killed while out shopping. The Enniskillen bombing on Rememberance Sunday which killed 12 civillians was just as despicable as well as the Shankill Road fish shop bombing that killed nine civillians including the killer bomber. ‘Bloody Sunday’ where 13 civillians were shot dead by British soldiers was a big recruitment factor for the IRA. They were really terrible times in NI. People lost all reason and committed murders that are unforgiveable. The Troubles made many a ‘Frankenstein’ monster of a man and woman that resorted to murder for vengence. Those whose didn’t were the true champions for being strong, no matter what they suffered and endured.)

  • Tir Eoghain

    What has Antoine Mac Giolla Bhrighde to do with this or Thomas Begley for that matter.

    Every family’s pain is equal, including the families of young children that were murdered by Plastic Bullets fired by the british army and ruc.

  • USA

    Wild Turkey,
    That was a touching. Your contributions are consistantly valuable, reasonable and thought provoking. I hope everything is okay with you, are you okay?

  • William

    The latest Republican catchphrase, parrotted by Denis Bradley is ‘everyone’s pain is the same’ or ‘every Mother’s pain is the same’. No, it isn’t – people who engaged in terrorism made that decision to take part [don’t the Provos tell us it was a ‘war’?]- Innocent victims like little Kathryn Eakin were going about their business and were killed by actions of evil terrorists.

    But those of us who work for the REAL victims of the terrorists [Republican or so-called Loyalist] will not allow our dead to be classified as equal with terrorists. It will not be allowed to happen, so get used to it. No £12k for families of terrorists – Thank God, the media and UK have united against it and I’m 100% positive it will not happen.

    It is bad enough that the person who ordered the killing of IRA man, Frankie Hegarty in Londonderrry and the Claudy Bombing, are now classified as our joint first minister without having the memory of our terrorist victim dead, classified the same as those who sealed their own fate by their involvement in terrorism.

  • Archie Purple

    Republicans should read the book, ‘Real Lives’ to see that they were the perpretators of the vast majority of the deaths during the Troubles and of course, in more recent times, they murdered Paul Quinn and four years ago yesterday, the killed Robert McCartney. Any Republican who died, knew what he / she was involved in and if they died, well that was the end product of their involvement. Many Repuplicans didn’t die and we see them polluting our political landscape at present.

  • Brian Walker

    William, to my mind, there is no equivalence between Kathryn Eakin and her killers; any such suggestion is abominable and ridiculous. The “victims” referred to here are not the dead nor paramilitary survivors of encounters with the security forces, but the families of all those who were killed. The comparison between Kathryn and her killers is therefore not the right one. The failures which led to the Troubles are not on one side and these payments, as I understand it, is an attempt to recognise that and to make a gesture of reconciliation.

    Immediate reaction to the report shows that at least for now, the NI community as a whole is not in a position to make this gesture. It can only be made, if at all, when passions have cooled and by the wider UK Parliament.

    As it happens, I’m not a great fan of the payments, though once suggested it will be hard to deny them. I’m also no supporter of the status of victimhood as a main determinant of justice. Justice is a meal best eaten cold. In most, probably all individual cases which haven’t come to trial, individual justice is now beyond reach. Eames/Bradley balked at making this admission to try placate anger in advance. Much good it did them. At least in the short term, this attempt to deal comprehensively with the legacy of the Troubles won’t have the desired effect. As I’ve said elsewhere, I think two things about this. 1.That the legacy can only be dealt with piecemeal, over time. 2. That dealing with the past although important, is not the indispensable requirement for dealing with the future. There will be no orthodoxy about the past, therefore no moment of complete reconciliation, so long as memory and myth remain. Even those of us who were horribly scarred have to try to put it behind them. In the end, the ageing survivors cope through their own inner resources and with the help of those closest to them.

  • blinding

    Brian Walker said

    “As it happens, I’m not a great fan of the payments, though once suggested it will be hard to deny them.”

    That is a good point and may be some of the reason for its proposal. Whether we like it or not some relatives may need or claim this money and by doing this a little more pressure is exerted on them to draw a line publically at least to what has happened to their relatives

  • William

    Brian…

    So Gerry Adams extend family is entitled to the £12km, because his fellow-terrorist cousin, Davy [not the UDA, now media one]Adams was ‘killed in action’.

    Perhaps you should ask your Claudy relative about her cousin’s husband, Billy, the Father of Kathry and how he is and has been since the 31st July 1972.

    It amazes me that educated people such as those on the Eames / Bradley panel and yourself are so easily soaked in by the terrorists who have always said, ‘there is no hierachy of victims’, whilst at the same time seeking Inquiries into the deaths of Nelson, Finucane etc. There is a heirachy of victims, those who died by involvement in terrorism and those who died doing their job or innocent bystanders like Kathryn.

    I can tell you Brian and any other person who reads this….the £12k will not be going to the families of terrorists – it will not be allowed to happen. Neither the DUPes or the UUP will allow it and I’m sure that the current and future Governments at Westminster will not allow. When I spoke to Owen Patterson on Friday, he was adamant that the Conservatives would not agree to this proposal.

  • Brian Walker

    The proposal is that a legacy commission would mean no more big inquiries, meaning for instance, definitely no Finuance inquiry. The terms of the new Inquiries Act was rejected by the Finucane family. It will be interesting to know if the terms of the legacy commission, if accepted by government, will be acceptable to those still calling for public inquiries.