“The decision to bury hard facts about our troubled past cannot be taken on the nod”

In the Belfast Telegraph Liam Clarke argues that the British and Irish Governments’ refusal to request and publish the IICD’s inventory of decommissioned weapons “tells us a great deal about their commitment to truth-recovery”.  From the Belfast Telegraph article

This is information which the governments commissioned and paid for on our behalf. If they decline to get it and publish it, that will send the clearest possible signal that the secrets of the Troubles, or at least any which can cause embarrassment to important interests, will not be tackled until those most affected are either dead, or beyond caring.

In its report, the IICD says that peace in Northern Ireland ‘means that however reprehensible some acts are that were committed in the past, at some point a line needs to be drawn under them – never to forget, but to be able to move on’.

‘Never to forget,’ they say. But, by refusing us the facts of decommissioning, they deny us the opportunity to remember.

No outside body, no matter how well-meaning, is entitled to take such decisions on behalf of our society.

An individual dealing with traumatic events is generally advised not to suppress the memory, but to face it with the help of others.

Perhaps the same is true of a society; facing the past may free us from its spell. It will certainly help overcome the myths built on partial information.

The decision to bury hard facts about our troubled past cannot be taken on the nod. This is an issue that requires serious political debate which will consider the total impact on society – not just on paramilitary groups.

Read the whole thing.

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  • iluvni

    Shameful dereliction of duty by the Governments if they arent prepared to ascertain the amounts of weaponry destroyed…or more crucially, still out there.

    Are we all to continue without knowing if all the IRA semtex was dumped]…. until the next atrocity.

    The DUP arent willing to make any meaningful stand by the looks of it. Maybe NIHRC will earn their wages. Seems a fundamental threat to everyone in NI’s human rights to have this potential threat hanging over us all.

  • socaire

    Right, so if a report is released that states 200 guns and 2 tons semtex was ‘put beyond use’, what does this tell you, iluvni? I never heard such rubbish in my life. Can you not accept that the provos gave up (surrendered) arms and lay down and that is the end of the story?

  • pippakin

    What would any inventory show, that X amount of weapons had been counted and handed over? And everyone would believe that that was all of them would they?

    The counting or even the handing over of weapons was always nothing more than a PR exercise, especially for the British, a country where its easier, and probably cheaper, to get a gun illegally than it is to apply for one legally.

  • John Ó Néill

    If the government shelled out £200m plus to merely delay official acknowledgement of some not so well buried truths it doesn’t suggest a major commitment to getting all the facts out there (in fact the opposite). The government fear truth-recovery as much, if not more, than any other player.

  • pippakin

    “The government fear truth-recovery as much, if not more, than any other player.”

    Rubbish and the usual rubbish at that. No government need ‘fear truth recovery as much if not more than any other player’ because they were not ‘players’ they were the government and governments are the ones who make the rules.

    A bad headline relating to a government of twenty years ago may offend a few but it won’t bring any current government down.

  • iluvni

    “Right, so if a report is released that states 200 guns and 2 tons semtex was ‘put beyond use’, what does this tell you, iluvni?”

    and

    “What would any inventory show, that X amount of weapons had been counted and handed over? And everyone would believe that that was all of them would they?”

    what if there was no mention of Semtex on that decommissioned list ?

  • andnowwhat

    I have to agree with John O’ Neil here. That disgusting pack animal trait in mankind, patriotism, is the self deluding glue that keeps a society together.

    That HMG allowed the murder of people from whatever hue within it’s own jurisdiction is one more crack in the mortar.

    Obviously, this is not just a NI thing. For centuries and to this very day we have soldiers sent to die and kill under the cloak of patriotism whereas the real reasons are at best muddied and at worst, deeply cynical.

  • dwatch

    iluvni, “Are we all to continue without knowing if all the IRA semtex was dumped]…. until the next atrocity”.

    Even if the IRA kept some Semtex after decommissioning surely by now all this type of plastic explosive has lost its strength after a certain period of time. “The shelf life of Semtex was reduced from 10 years guarantee prior to 1990s to 5 years now.”
    http://seinebight.tripod.com/TSATACT/sargemccoy.htm

  • ForkHandles

    To me this article seems like an older troubles era journalist writing about things that no longer matter. Only older journalists are going on about this stuff, no one else. The time to draw a line under the 20th century happened when we moved from the 20th century to the 21st century. Please find something normal to write about..

  • iluvni

    Perhaps thats true, dwatch. I dont know.
    Was the ‘high explosive’ ever identified with regard to the Kerr atrocity?