BBC drama on what reconcilation means for a former UVF killer

A hard-headed interview in two stages, one before last week’s murders, the other after, on the subject of reconciliation, “a phase into which Northern Ireland thought it had passed until last week’s murder of three members of the security forces by republican terrorists.” according to the Times writer. It’s with UVF killer Alistair Little, in advance of Alistair Little’s transformation, “Five Minutes of Heaven”, a new film by Oliver Hirschbiegel, to be broadcast by the BBC next month. In it, Liam Neeson plays Little. James Nesbitt plays Joe Griffin, the brother of Little’s victim, who witnessed the murder. Little asks: ‘When are we going to tell the f*****g truth about what’s going on here?’. “There is an onus to talk to them,” he says. “But saying that in an emotionally charged atmosphere would be unpopular. Yet there are people sitting in Stormont (the Parliament building ) who shot and blew people up. Fr Aidan Troy would agree about talking to them. But do they want to talk and what would the talk be about?

“They are all saying that these killings can no longer be justified – does that mean, then, that murder was somehow justifiable in the past? There are probably thousands of people out there who have lost loved ones and are feeling as angry as I am right now.”
“I’m not asking for forgiveness. I would never ask the family of Jim Griffin for that because I don’t believe I have the right. Then people ask me: ‘Have you forgiven yourself?’ That’s a load of crap. I try to do the best I can with what life I have left. My main vocation is working with people.”

Our sympathies to Liam Neeson on the critical condition of his wife Natasha Richardson.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London