The sooner society finds a way to confront the past the better…

Northern Ireland’s DPP, Barra McGrory has made an interesting intervention. Gerry Moriarty in the Irish Times:

“I think there is an imperative in the public interest that society finds a mechanism to deal with the past,” he said.

“Whether that be simply giving more resources to the investigators to get on with the investigating, and then consequentially the prosecution service to prosecute cases if the evidence emerges, or whether or not society is ready for a solution to the past outside of the prosecutorial system, is a matter that I think this society needs to confront,” he said.

“In my view, the sooner it confronts it the better – but confront it, it needs to. I think at the moment there perhaps isn’t a will to confront it in political circles because of the enormity of the decisions that have to be taken . . . But that is not for me, that is for politicians and for society.”

The shadow of the past falls too readily on many individual life’s even as our politicians are rightly focus on increasing the beneficial shadow of the future…

  • cynic2

    I am amazed at the zero comments here.

    I think that the DPP hit the nail on the head. What we have is a system where the only response is the criminal one. That is unstable. SF miscalculated when they thought that they and their colleagues in PIRA were so important that they had defacto immunity from prosecution. That time is passing. Evidence is emerging and the Human Rights Act demands that these cases be followed up.

    Clearly Barra doesn’t want to be hung on the hook of having to decide to prosecute / not prosecute in historic cases. Nor should he be – its the political cowardice of politicians that has led us to this point.

    So we need a new (political) solution but there isn’t a hope in hell of getting one. The best hope is that we bumble through until the current generation have gone and the truth can be told

  • Mick Fealty

    There are judicial reviews in regard to McGurks Bar and Loughinisland too. The judicial system is going take a fair amount of strain in the next few years.

  • Get real! There is obviously a secret protocol that certain PIRA leaders won’t be held responsible for atrocities that they ordered or approved and, at the same time, State agents won’t be held responsible for their extra-judicial murders. It’s not unusual; shouldn’t Von Braun have been prosecuted and jailed as a war criminal rather than be welcomed to the USA and feted for his contributions to their space program?

  • cynic2

    Such a protocol would of course amount to conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. So who is conspiring here and are SF involved in collusion?

  • cynic2,

    In my opinion the conspirators are HMG and SF.

  • Oh and the Irish Government is up to its neck too. Why no arrests in the murder of young Paul?

  • Mick Fealty

    I don’t think for a moment the DPP is remotely worried about conspiracy theories guys.

  • Fair enough ,Mick. But should they?

  • Mick Fealty


  • cynic2


    “I don’t think for a moment the DPP is remotely worried about conspiracy theories guys”

    Nor do I. If the evidence is there he will go with it.And that, dear children, may be a problem for us all in the medium term!!

  • Joe, Expediency Rules OK. As you indicate, it’s not a novel tactic.


    The past cannot be dealt with by a mechanism; the past is the past and the most we can hope for is that it drifts even further into the past. And it appears to me to be doing just that. The past is already 15 or 20 years old; in another 15 or 20 years most of the key players associated with the past will have exited stage left. Give it a further 15 or 20 years and most of us who can remember the mess that was the 1970’s and 1980’s will be old men. I don’t recall a mechanism to deal with the injustices of the Anglo-Irish war, the Irish civil war or the Somme and we got through that. This place has moved on and will continue to move on whether society finds a mechanism to deal with the past or not.

  • Alias

    Hopefully, Barra McGrory’s honourable political intervention might stir some stagnant waters…