“And this is not going away.”

Somewhat under-reported, as far as I can tell, was the following exchange between Will Crawley and Denis Bradley on Talkback yesterday. [approx 28 mins in]

Will Crawley:  “But we now have some people, including unionist politicans, saying how can we really seriously and credibly talk about a truth recovery process in dealing with the past when people can simply appeal to memory loss about what happened and their involvement in the past?”

Denis Bradley:  “Well that’s probably an observation worth exploring, but, I mean…”

Will Crawley: “Well explore it for us.”

Denis Bradley:  “Well.  The DUP is split right down the middle, as far as I can observe, on this issue.  I mean I have had two situations recently, and I may have got this wrong and I apologise if I got it wrong.  But it appeared to me that Ian Paisley Jnr went to west Belfast during the summer and said, ‘just put the past behind us and get on with the future’.

“Now that’s completely different to what some of the other leadership in the DUP are saying.

“On the other hand you have Sinn Féin running around the place talking about an international tribunal, [an] international independent truth commission.

“Now, first of all, they’re told truth commissions are very difficult and they’re very… they’re not really the stuff [of] which our culture lives and survives and has its being.

“On the other hand are they talking about this international independent [commission] being set up by the United Nations?  Fair enough, except the United Nations doesn’t do this type of stuff.

“So who’s going to set it up, and who’s going to be independent, and who’s going to pay for it?

“Because if the British pay for it then it’s contaminated, accordingly.

And the truth of the matter is that the relatives on the republican side know this.  And they’re now beginning to get sceptical about Sinn Féin’s stance on this because they know that Sinn Féin are, perhaps, not wanting this to happen as much as they appear to say even though they’re singing off the same hymn sheet. [added emphasis]

“On the other hand the great majority of people just want… are bored with it.

“And in the fourth dimension of this, it’s not going away.

“Last week we had Graham’s bookmakers.  We had the accusation, in fact, not the accusation.  The HET reported that a gun was used and then was tampered with by the RUC in such a fashion and was given back to the UDA and then new murders happened.

“This week we had Claudy.  Week before that, or the month before that we had Saville.  Next week we will have something else.

“And this is not going away.

“And the Ombudsman said it will take 50 years to deal with this if we don’t find a better method of dealing with it.

“So I think that it’s all in the Consultative Group on the Past document.  It’s all there.  All these issues are confronted.  All these issues are addressed.

“What people need to do, what the politicians need to do, is to have a bit of courage.  Is to have a bit of facing up to this issue.  Come to a situation whereby they can say – ‘Well this is probably the way to deal with it and let’s get on with it’.  [added emphasis]

“And in that document it says ‘let’s take a five year stint at this, let’s do it over [a] five year period’. 

“Because it is not right to keep re-examining the past over and over and over again.  But it is right to do it in a way that is ethical, that is the best you can deliver to as many people as possible.”