Before Christmas I was on Nolan to talk about whether it is right for a bomber (who killed 9 civilians) to be making money by taking tourists around Belfast telling them the story of the Troubles? You can get the whole segment here:
Victims and survivors of the Shankill bomb hit out after it emerges bomber Sean Kelly is giving Troubles tours in North Belfast@mickfealty | @Phil_Kelly_
🎧 https://t.co/FKmohB3Tqu pic.twitter.com/4HwaQ923HZ
— Stephen Nolan (@StephenNolan) December 22, 2021
Without labouring it, I argue that after nearly thirty years of peace, the stories we choose to tell about our communities are still having a limiting effect on those communities. Phil says we need more time, but if so how long?
Investment levels in north and west Belfast lag far behind other parts of the city. I don’t argue for control or prohibition of partisan story tellers like Seán running a tourism business, but we shouldn’t be puzzled that outcomes are slow to change.
And just as importantly, what are we doing with the peace that a man like Mr Kelly can only make a living from retelling stories that must (on some level) constitute the most traumatic of his life (to say nothing about the effect on the lives of survivors)?
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