Representing Victims of Terrorism in South Armagh
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Truth Commission

The proposal of a truth commission has been one intended by many as a step towards reconciliation. Often citing South Africa as an exemplar, such a commission is lauded as the way forward for peace in Northern Ireland, in that by having knowledge of the detail of terrorist events in the past, those who suffered (and survived) will be able to move on, as will society at large. As victims of terrorism we regard this as flawed. Through its implications we consider this as nothing more than pandering to the terrorist wish list.

One of the main concerns of a large proportion of terrorist victims is that of justice. It is something that rarely if ever was obtained, with a very small proportion of terrorist crime in the border area ever being solved or having arrests made. With the release of prisoners and the various measures of appeasement in the Belfast agreement we feel that law and order has been legislated against and crime rewarded. Our view on this proposal is in essence that the concept in itself may be carefully worded to have positive and progressive appearance, but underlying remains visible the primary and ulterior motive of terrorist groups such as Sinn Fein/IRA: amnesty for their comrades.

Given a scenario were the perpetrators were sorry for the murders and killings that took place, and declared plainly that they no longer reserved the right to kill in the name of their cause, then the situation may be somewhat different. However, what IRA/Sinn Fein want is the past wiped away along with all associated guilt. As a consequence justice is to be abandoned to obtain an unverifiable story from criminals of the crimes they perpetrated.

Before activities such as a truth commission are considered we believe that the victims of terrorism should be adequately dealt with first. At least in 1922 people in authority had the sense to attempt to do this, and make proper provision for the people that had suffered. Now the victim takes second place to the needs and desires of the terrorist. History teaches us that appeasement can never bring us to a safer or more peaceful future. It only stores up greater horrors.

In summary a future truth commission will allow the safe return of “on the runs”, amnesty for all, and the removal of any possible chance of justice, with specific details relating to terrorist events being places out of bounds. Is this the price of truth?