CoI Gazette denounces attempt to resurrect Eames Bradley

Gladys had a blog on Sunday Sequence’s interview with two former members of the Consultative Group on the Past: Denis Bradley and Rev. Lesley Carroll in which they called for Eames Bradley to be looked at again. My comments on Eames Bradley are posted below. It seems, however, that Gladys and myself are not the only ones to have picked up on the potential appearance of an undead Eames Bradley. The editorial in this weeks Church of Ireland Gazette will focus on Mary Travers’s murder and Eames Bradley. It is fairly short so I will reproduce it in full:

The recent appointment of Mary McArdle as a special adviser at Stormont was insensitive not only because she had a part in the 1984 murder of the 23-year-old Mary Travers but also because Mary Travers was so brutally attacked coming with her parents, precisely, from Mass. The sanctity of the moment at which her young life was so cruelly taken only gives the sin yet more depth. Mary McArdle has now described the killing of Mary Travers as a tragic mistake and has said that she regrets that it happened, yet her appointment has highlighted again the issue of coming to terms with the past in Northern Ireland.

Last Sunday, Denis Bradley and the Revd Lesley Carroll – of the former Consultative Group on the Past (CGP) – appeared on the BBC’s Sunday Sequence programme. Lesley Carroll said that society had let the CGP’s report “sit there” and plainly stated that if she were doing the CGP report again, she would not do anything differently. For his part, Mr Bradley said that increasingly people were now discussing the subject in a more “rational” manner.

Contrary to Lesley Carroll’s view, society has not simply shelved the CGP report. It has rejected it. Nor was she correct to indicate that the CGP report has yet to be properly debated and that the debate which did take place was on the recognition payment proposal rather than the whole of the report. In fact, the CGP report has been considered very carefully indeed, in its totality, by political parties, Churches and individual groups and people. The Northern Ireland Office ran a whole public consultation on it, and has published the results. Then again, for Mr Bradley to suggest that people had not been sufficiently rational in their consideration of the CGP report is simply an affront to the public. Both former CGP members came across on the programme rather as spoilt children who had not got their way. They should have paid more attention to the responses to the NIO’s consultation on the CGP’s recommendations and, indeed, to the ‘Advice to Government’ of the Commission for Victims and Survivors in its Dealing with the Past document, upon which we commented very favourably in our issue of 9th July last year.

It is good that former terrorists have left violence behind and have embraced the peace process and democracy. Yet they should never expect people in the rest of society, who have been very magnanimous towards them, to accept that there was ever anything right, reasonable or justified about their acts of terror. We must strive for a reconciled and shared future that is not based on a disingenuous re-writing of history but on the values of decency, democracy and genuine concern for the welfare of every person.