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A Road Map to Peace?

category armagh | miscellaneous | opinion/analysis author Thursday February 26, 2009 11:13author by Sean Matthews - WSMauthor email wsm_ireland at yahoo dot com Report this post to the editors

THE recent publishing of the report by the Consultative Group on the Past demonstrates the simmering sectarian tensions and hostility beneath the surface.The 190 page report by the group, chaired by ex-Church of Ireland primate Lord Eames and former Policing Board vice chairman Dennis Bradley marked 18 months of consultation with victim groups and others that have been bereaved through the conflict.
consultativereport.jpg

The main recommendations include the appointment by the British Government of a Legacy Commission to last five years with a £100m bursary to tackle the task of securing reconciliation, social disadvantage and justice. The report also proposed no new public inquires or any amnesty for ‘crimes’ linked to the troubles. The group also recommends a new Review and Investigation Unit to replace the police Historical Enquiries Team and the Police Ombudsman’s unit dealing with historical cases.

The most controversial aspect of the report included the next of kin of victims to receive a £12,000 “recognition payment.” Although voluntary this sparked controversy over allegations that this will equate the actions of paramilitary organisations with that of the state forces. This "recognition payment" is counter-productive and has only inflamed divisions.

We must recognise that there is no monopoly on suffering and grief regardless of the victim’s cause of death. No report will address and satisfy the concerns and grievances of everyone. The report fails to mention in great detail the plight of thousands of people who have suffered physical or physiological injury throughout the conflict.

On the 20th anniversary of the murder of human rights solicitor Pat Finucane, perhaps, the only real benefactor of the report is the British state who continues to deny a full independent public inquiry into the extent of its collusion with Loyalist paramilitaries and republican armed groups, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of citizens. A policy which is enshrined in the 2005 Inquires Act giving powers to British Government ministers to prevent disclosing information in any future inquires.

We should expect nothing less from Governments that are keen to lecture us on upholding ‘impartiality’, ‘human rights’ and ‘morality’ but in reality break every law in the land when it suits and are the greatest practitioners of violence and terrorism. We will never achieve lasting reconciliation and peace as long as we have the cementing of sectarianism at Stormont.

Until we begin to smash the sectarian barriers in our communities and workplace’s. We need to remove not only the church from our schools, hospitals and everyday lives, but the barrier of nationalism whether of a green or orange flavour which fosters division, fear and never ending conflict.The only real unity worth fighting for is based on our common class interests against the state and capitalism.

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