The tourist stories of the surviving Shankill Bomber are unlikely to be doing his own community much good…

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:

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)?

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