Assembly to debate Eames Bradley

The assembly are to debate the Eames Bradley report today. There is little doubt that sparks will fly. As I have already mentioned, Jim Allister (and our own fair_deal) have called on Jarleth Burns to “name and shame” the unionists who Mr. Burns claims were “a bit dishonest and almost duplicitous in their responses to the report.

The News Letter is reporting that David Simpson of the DUP has denied that the DUP were the ones being “duplicitous” saying: “The people of Northern Ireland have been outraged by the Eames-Bradley report, which has at its centre an objective to treat everyone who was killed in the Troubles the same.
There is certainly no duplicity on the part of the Democratic Unionist Party. The Shankill Butchers cannot be placed on the same level as their innocent victims, nor can the Shankill bomber be placed on the same level as those whom he killed. That has always been our position.”

Reg Empey, however, suggested that Mr. Burns’s comments might well be correct: “If a member of the team is motivated to come out and say that, then it means they are upset about the difference between what they were told privately and what is now being said in public.”

He also suggested that “Whoever they were they should own up and tell people what it was they said.” and that “I don’t know who went to see them, but I presume it shouldn’t be too hard to find out.”

I doubt any unionists will own up during the debate today. If Mr. Burns thought that his remarks would settle the situation or gain credibility for the report I suspect he is mistaken. He is now left in a situation whereby he is likely to have to name the unionist politicians in question: otherwise his, and the Eames Bradley group as a whole’s position, is likely to be even further damaged in unionists eyes.

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  • It seems to me that the Eames bradley report seeks to start a truth process by treating everyone equally. That does not imply that they will be equal at the end of it. But the presumption of a hierarchy of victims can not be the starting point, so it’s no process or no hierarchy.

  • Pand

    Apparently the tears of one mother are more inportant than the tears of another, it’s my view that unionists are at their typical pot stiring yet again over so called “Terrorist equal to victims” when this report says nothing of the sort. It is about recognition of families who lost their loved ones, but unionists like Frazer are too concerned that they and their movement are rightous. Also by this groups logic, why hasn’t there been any outrage of this payment to British soldiers/UDR families who did their fair share of murdering and maiming innocent children and adults like Aiden McAnespie?

  • scaramoosh

    “has at its centre an objective to treat everyone who was killed in the Troubles the same.”

    Well, yes, and why would that be? Because they are the same – they are all dead; gone; no longer conscious.

    One feels that the intellectual essence at the heart of Eames Bradley is sadly lost on the Unionist politicians; the neutalisation of the issue of the dead.

    Making the dead all equal, through a payment, removes one of the most potent
    symbols in the republican armoury – the dead as martyr. It does not in any way diminish the status of the other dead; but merely acknowledges the loss of their loved ones.

    If we cannot resolve the issue of the dead, how can we ever hope to resolve the greater issue of the living.

    In rejecting Eames Bradley Unionists are once gain scoring the proverbial own goal, whilst raising the gross spectre of politicians bickering over the notion of the good and the bad dead. They are also ensuring the Real IRA and their likes continue to have their martys.

    They would do well to remember that Europe as a whole,and the world at large, managed to come to terms with the German population post the Nazi atrocities and that the Spanish people managed to also put years of killing and mayhem behind them, without resorting to squabling over the status of their dead.

  • Turgon

    scaramoosh,
    I understand your analysis but suggest that it is incorrect. Your analogy with the Nazi’s is also somewhat flawed (as well as breaching Godwin’s law). What was not done was to equate the likes of Reinhard Heydrich with the likes of Anne Frank.

    In other words a criminal murderer who died in the process of being a criminal murderer should not be equated with an innocent murder victim.

  • delta omega

    Given that we live in a country that has dividing walls below ground in a cemetry to separate the dead protestants from teh dead catholics, is it any wonder that some people can’t even see the dead as equal.

    One of the issues I have with Eames-Bradley is paying out to the families of the dead, but not paying to the living who have suffered and continue to suffer on a daily basis.

    Here’s an idea – if Eames-Bradley want to give £12k to the family of everyone killed in the troubles, then let them do it out of their own coffers – don’t impose this additional burden on the taxpayer. I don’t want any of my taxes being given to the familiy of a terrorist, no matter what side they were on.

  • WhiteKnight

    The UUP has also called on Jarlath Burns to name the politicians concerned.

    From Fred Cobain:

    Name the ‘unionist politicians’ Mr. Burns

    In politics and public life there are few accusations as serious and as damaging as that of hypocrisy.

    On a Radio Ulster programme on Sunday, February 1, Jarlath Burns, a member of the Consultative Group on the Past, accused certain “unionist politicians” of saying one thing to the Group and another thing to the media. He accused them of being “a bit dishonest and almost duplicitous..”

    As the UUP’s Chief Whip I call upon Mr. Burns to name those politicians. It is unfair on all unionist politicians who have met the Consultative Group to tar them with the same brush. And it is unfair to the unionist parties collectively.

    So I would ask Mr Burns (and it was, after all, him who made this a public matter) to name the individuals concerned and to say in what capacity they saw the Consultative Group: a party submission, an individual submission or through OFMDFM

  • cynic

    In this context I assume that you are using the words ‘Assembly’ and ‘debate’ loosely?

  • William

    I have no doubt that the ‘one or two’ [not a big number] Unionists who Burns claims were “a bit dishonest and almost duplicitous” in what they said in private to the Eames / Bradley group and are now saying in public, were members of the DUP.

    I say that due to their track record. At the last Assembly Election, my local MLA, William Hay was telling the electorate on the doorsteps, that they had to vote DUP, to ensure that Sinn Fein didn’t become the party with the highest vote and therefore get the post of First Minister. Whilst telling the people this, Hay was party to an agreement with Sinn Fein to share power and he to be elevated to the post of [poor] Speaker. The hyprocrisy of the DUPes certainly suggests to me that it is they who are the culprits and I am sure that history will provide me correct.

  • William

    ‘….I am sure that history will prove me correct.’

  • Harry Flashman

    It is of course absolutely absurd to say that there is no hierarchy of victims, of course there were and both sides in the dispute implicitly accept this fact, hence there is no monument to dead British soldiers in Crossmaglen town square nor is there a book of remembrance for members of the INLA in St Anne’s Cathedral.

    All sides believe that their victims were more sinned against than sinning so can we stop this nonsense that all the dead were equally victims? They weren’t.

    Now what is proposed is a ludicrous idea of twelve grand being paid by the British taxpayer (nothing being chipped in by the Irish taxpayer is there?) being given to the relatives of the dead to wipe the slate clean, quite apart from the rather obvious practical problems involved (who gets the money for a 19 year old unmarried squaddie killed in 1972?) this offends against every form of morality.

    What we would be saying is that the fully armed Paratrooper killed in a well executed military ambush at Warrenpoint is equally as much a victim as the unarmed middle aged father of four shot down in the streets of his own town by that Paratrooper’s comrades seven years earlier. Or that the young man who carried the bomb into a crowded fish shop on a busy Saturday afternoon fully aware that the shop is full of civilians who will be killed by his bomb is equally as much a victim as the little girl he was about to eviscerate.

    Sorry it doesn’t work that way, some people were victims and some people were victimisers. Some made conscious choices about what they wanted to do and some people were wholly uninvolved and utterly innocent victims of the choices made by others.

    The reason Republicans are so keen on this idea is that they get to say “See? We were all equally victims” but that is absurd, in the same way that I accept that maybe some former member of the UDR shot dead as he tended his fields might indeed have been involved in certain activities that could be perceived as not entirely unconnected to the ongoing Troubles so must the Republican Movement accept that some of their “martyrs” might not have been simple lawyers working for their clients or mere election workers putting up posters for a political party.

    This is the chance for the guilty to wipe the slate clean and pretend that everyone was equally guilty or equally innocent.

    Balls!

    There were victims and there were people who weren’t victims, and as soon as we have the maturity to face up to that fact we can maybe begin the process of ensuring it never happens again.

  • ZoonPol

    The Victims and Survivors (Northern Ireland) Order 2006

    3. —(1) In this Order references to “victim and survivor” are references to an individual appearing to the Commissioner to be any of the following—

    (a) someone who is or has been physically or psychologically injured as a result of or in consequence of a conflict-related incident;

    (b) someone who provides a substantial amount of care on a regular basis for an individual mentioned in paragraph (a); or

    (c) someone who has been bereaved as a result of or in consequence of a conflict-related incident.

    (2) Without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (1), an individual may be psychologically injured as a result of or in consequence of—

    (a) witnessing a conflict-related incident or the consequences of such an incident; or

    (b) providing medical or other emergency assistance to an individual in connection with a conflict-related incident.

  • Dave

    “Making the dead all equal, through a payment, removes one of the most potent symbols in the republican armoury – the dead as martyr.” – scaramoosh

    I’m sure there is some form of logic in that statement but I’ll be damned if I can detect it.

    You need to keep up with the changing times. As Gerry Adams said during his oration at the funeral of PIRA leader, Brian Keenan: “And for the sceptics within unionism, let me remind them that the recent watershed moments in our history, including the election of Ian Paisley as First Minister would not have been possible without the work of Brian Keenan and his colleagues.”

    The new republican ‘martyrs’ are those who died or slaughtered for the right to assist in the administration of British rule. Even their most famous martyr, Bobby Sands, has been ‘revised’ as striving toward this aim.

    As for the compensation for the families of murderers: by what moral or legal right are they entitled to compensation by the State if they were lawfully killed by the State?

  • fin

    Turgon you make an interesting point, its worth looking at your Reinhard Heydrich\Anne Frank comment in the context of time and place, he was a senior officer, an employee of the state. Anne was a 2nd (or 3rd) class citizen, Reinhard was killed by people fighting to free their country, terrorists? or freedom fighters?
    When all this happen Reinhard Heydrich was the most important person.

    In 1916 or 1918 what would the unionist community have said if someone compared, as an equal, the death of a member of the IRA to that of a Black and Tan or British soldier? similar outrage we hear today?

    Or if in SA, compared a dead member of the ANC to a dead police officer, yet today the ANC have been in power for a decade.

    A Shia militant to a Sunni in the Presidental Guard 10 years ago.

    etc etc

    the list goes on and on

  • ZoonPol

    Billy joins the UDR: Liam joins the IRA. Both have taken an oath to defend by force their respective ideologies.
    William is marshalled towards a car in Anytown that blows up in his face: he is a Quaker.
    Liam is killed as the car bomb detonated early and he was in the vicinity; Billy goes to aid Liam unaware that he planted the bomb but is substantially traumatised by the event and his rescue actions.
    Who are the victims here and are all families of the above actors victims also?

  • True blue

    Won’t be surprised if my MP Willie McCrea was who Mr Burns was taking about.At the last election Willie told me that he would never share power with SF/IRA and now what is he doing? He also attended a number of funerals of people killed by the IRA and swore that he would never allow SF/IRA to sit in government now whats he doing?
    Come on Mr Burns put up or shut up and expose the Reverend again.

  • Earnan

    How bout no one gets any money equally….

  • Carson’s Cat

    All parties can step up and make all the calls they like for the Consultative Group to name the individual involved. Personally I’d love to know who it is.

    However, I’m a little confused about what Jarlath Burns’ motivation was for mentioning this again. Denis Bradley already has revelled in this revelation earlier in the week whilst already mentioning in the same breath that all the conversations / discussions were confidential.

    Therefore there’s no real possibility of the Consultative Group naming whoever was involved – because if they do then they completely lose the credibility they were meant to have of being a trustworthy group. Mind you – from what I can see there isn’t a great deal of credibility left there – all started with their press briefing which allowed the £12,000 story to have plenty of airing before the rest of the report was published.

    If they had really wanted a discussion about all of the document and not just selected passages then why brief the press prior to publication? I suspect they thought some of the ‘heat’ would go out of their payment proposal in the gap between the Friday and the Monday. Unfortunately they just didn’t see what a damaging effect that kind of ‘payoff’ idea would have on everything else they have carried out.

    Muddying the water now by attempting to blame some unnamed unionist politician for duplicity isn’t going to take away from the fact that anything they say now isn’t going to reheat these proposals to a position where they will ever be acceptable to most people out there.

    Mind you – in the (likely) continued absence of a named individual, “William” above has shown that people will just insert the name of someone within a Party which they dislike as the likely candidate. Possibly a job achieved then from some members of the Consultative Group who clearly believe that politicians, and their pesky mandates, shouldn’t get in the way of pious lectures to the public as to how they should deal with their past.

  • Mack

    Here we go typical TUV attacking the DUP who have stood up for the innocent victims and will push Govnt not to give one penny of the £12,000 out especially to terrorist’s families.

    True Blue, Willie McCrea has attended more victims funerals than you have had hot dinners and you should be ashamed to suggest that he was the one who Mr Burns was talking about.

  • ZoonPol

    MP knew of LVF boss death threat. Do you write the news True Blue?

  • Turgon

    Carson’s Cat,
    I am inclined to agree with you and fair_deal in that Burns is trying to create a smoke screen for Eames Bradley to hide behind. I suppose the idea (if there is an organised one) is that unionists will fight amongst one another and so distract attention from the report and the group.

    Instead what has happened is a little bit of unionist in fighting but more importantly is that all unionists: the UUP, DUP and TUV are demanding that Burns “name and shame.” That is a much more useful strategy than infighting. If some unionist did say this nonsense they should indeed recieve public pillory for it.

    However, if (as I submit is more likely) Burns is lying or completely perverting what someone said beyond all recognition then continued pressure on Burns will simply further highlight the immorality of the commission’s proposals and their complete unacceptability to not only the unionist community but also to the nationalist community and almost everyone outside Northern Ireland.

    As such a bit of infighting may have to be tolerated but the main message must be a resounding one to Burns: either name names or we regard you as the dishonest and duplicitous one.

  • Carson’s Cat

    Turgon
    “However, if (as I submit is more likely) Burns is lying or completely perverting what someone said beyond all recognition”

    I actually wouldn’t suggest that Burns is “lying”. However, going back to what Denis Bradley initially said was that a “high profile” (I think) unionist politician made the comment that “all mothers tears are the same”.

    There are two issues – firstly, what does “high profile” unionist politiican mean. That seems to be a fairly subjective term. I’m not saying that it makes any difference to the comments, but it certainly would be a different story if Reg Empey said something or Peter Robinson said something compared to their least known MLA making the same comment.

    Also, the comment itself that one persons tears are the same as another persons tears is one of those bland cliches which actually means little or nothing – perhaps why they are so beloved of the SDLP. Yes tears are all the same, but the circumstances which can have caused the tears can be hugely different. Two mothers can cry in a courtroom – one because their child is going to prison for murder, the other because their family is recieving justice for the murder of their child. Some people might describe the tears as equal but no-one in their right mind could equate the circumstances which caused them.

    Also lets face it – apparently the only reason the Consultative Group on the Past can come up with to propose something as horrible as a pay-off for everyone killed in the troubles is because one unnamed unionist politician made some comment. We don’t know who made the comment and we do not know in what context it was made. Therefore I would disagree that there is a big need to find out who said this. That distracts the story.

    We need to keep asking the Consultative Group why they appear to have ignored the thousands of people who told them there should be absolutely no equation of terror and victim. I was at one of the public meetings and I know that was the message they got loud and clear there – including from representatives of both unionist parties. Even if some individual went a bit ‘off piste’ with their comments, Eames, Bradley, Burns and the rest of the group will have known fine rightly that those comments didn’t represent the view of the political party that person purported to be there on the behalf of.

    The more discussion there is about those couple of words uttered by an anonymous individual, the less discussion there is about how those members of the CGP managed to sit down and square in their own minds a proposal which seems to have made just about everyone in Northern Ireland deeply uncomfortable.

    To me, that’s the big motivation for someone like Jarlath Burns to re-quote those remarks. It takes the discussion away down a side road, which unionists usually manage then to take, and actually takes the focus off the report.

  • Driftwood

    Who is Jarleth Burns? I’ve never heard of him.
    I presume he is a top notch barrister or something, but what qualifies him for whatever role he has in this debacle?

  • True blue

    Mack
    It should be willie McCrea that should hang his head in shame.While he might have walked behind alot of coffins what is he doing now? Having tea and buns with SF/IRA is now what Willie “I’ll never sit in government with terrorists” Mccrea is at these days.