Friday, May 25, 2012

Dealing with the Past in Northern Ireland

Today I attended a Transitional Justice Institute workshop looking at dealing with the past in Northern Ireland. Main question asked: where to now. In short, the key point emerging was that the dealing with the past question has not gone away, and there is a need to have some organised way of addressing it. However, a lack of leadership and commitment locally and by the two governments stymies things moving forward. While this goes on victims continue to be frustrated by the plethora of mechanisms out there, none of which are meeting their needs in entirety, in fact making many feel they have to repeat themselves in multiple forums. There is also a growing resentment by some victims of their cases being called "historical" or "legacy issue" implying the concerns about truth and justice are not contemporary. Denis Bradley spoke at the event, and although does not see much progress, said he felt that the Consultative Group on the Past report has not been entirely binned and may return, as it is the only viable option on the table.

Also see my collection of resources and website on dealing with the past in Northern Ireland.