Debating the Past in the Northern Ireland Assembly?

Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle is due to bring a motion before the Assembly today ‘calling for the Secretary of State Owen Paterson to convene party talks to find a way forward in addressing the legacy of the past.’

I think that our politicians need to provide more leadership in the debate about dealing with the past, so I welcome the Alliance proposal.

Whether it is realistic to expect local parties to lead this debate is another matter. During the summer Denis Bradley said that he thought that the Irish and British governments would be better-placed to kick-start (and lead?) the process.

But recent events – not the least of which is Martin McGuinness’ Irish Presidential campaign – continue to demonstrate that the past just isn’t going to go away, you know.

A Healing Through Remembering press release, issued today, notes the recent upsurge of ‘news items related to the legacy of the conflict in and about Northern Ireland.’

Such items will continue to dominate the news, and will probably continue to be dealt with in a piecemeal and unsatisfactory manner, until Northern Ireland gets sensitive and effective political leadership on how we remember its violent past.