Alex Kane weighs into the victims fray:
I don’t think there will be a definition of ‘victim’ which is acceptable to all sides. I don’t think there will be a definition of ‘reconciliation’ which is acceptable to all sides. I don’t think there will be a definition of ‘shared future’ which is acceptable to all sides. I don’t think there will be much agreement on what is meant by ‘dealing with the past’, let alone what is meant by ‘putting the past behind us and moving on’.
And let me tell you something else (although maybe I should whisper it): I suspect that the vast majority of the pro-Union community don’t really care all that much about the lack of progress on reconciliation and sharing – particularly if progress depends on rewriting history or any legislative effort to push us together.
I suspect, too, that most of those who are the victims, survivors and families affected by republican terrorism (although I accept there are exceptions) would prefer to suffer in silence and without truth or justice than to witness the day when the terrorists were defined as victims and washed free of guilt and moral responsibility.
He senses this is a back door is being to mainstream the idea that Loyalist and Republican killers were justified in their respective campaigns of mass violence:
I am pretty sure that we will end up doing much more damage than good if we fall into the trap of believing that loyalist and republican terrorists should be allowed to set the agenda when it comes to reconciliation and sharing.
I don’t doubt the personal integrity or motives of those within the pro-Union community who have accepted that some republican and loyalist terrorist groups are sincere and honest about reconciliation and progress.
If they want to build up some sort of relationship with them that must be their choice. But that’s all it is – THEIR choice. They speak for themselves, though, and only for themselves.
If they want to represent a wider audience then perhaps they should create their own post-conflict party and test the electoral waters in 2015.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty