Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Boston College has undermined all researchers and journalists who rely on confidential sources – Liam Clarke Article

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A huge amount has been written about the Boston College Saga – and there is plenty more to come – but Liam Clarke sums up the central issues very well

His full article is here :

We need full open and honest debate on the troubles – that cannot happen when the state uses its power to prosecute people for actions they took during the 1969-98 Northern Ireland war which ended with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

The state is biased and will never – taking the most blatant example – prosecute the people responsible for the murder of fourteen unarmed demonstrators in Derry on Bloody Sunday at the end of January 1972.

The Saville Inquiry Found British Paratroopers Guilty of Murdering 14 Innocent Civilians - Nobody Prosecuted

Ed Moloney offers the example of Patrick McCullough :

Liam Clarke deserves praise for identifying the central issue.

Many people (including this writer) disagree with this comment about the 1981 Hunger Strikes :

Richard O’Rawe, former PRO of protesting republican prisoners in the Maze, went public with his account of a secret British offer to end the 1981 hunger strike first given to the archive. As a result he lived to see himself vindicated by subsequent releases of government papers and the diary of Brendan Duddy, the go between who brokered the deal.

At the end of the day, people will have to agree to disagree on such questions and move on.

An amnesty should be declared – on all sides – because a bitter political war ended in 1998.

Another journalist, Brian Rowan, hits the nail on the head :

What do we want out of any examination of the past? Investigations could produce a result for some, but not for the many touched by a decades-long conflict.

And so that demands we think outside the box – and think differently. That is if we really want the answers, the information and some better understanding of what the many ‘wars’ were all about.

Investigations stand in the way of that type of explanation. And the dirty word ‘amnesty’ is what will open the door.

Many baulk at the very suggestion, as if it is something new. Yet, in one form or another, it is what delivered decommissioning, or putting arms beyond use, opened the door to information on the hidden bodies of the Disappeared and there are those who point to the early prisoner-releases as another form of amnesty.

If you want republicans and loyalists to step forward, then some new thinking is required. Investigations push them further away from the type of process in which information could be delivered.

And we need to understand that the past is not just about individuals, but is also about corporate/collective decisions and orders – republican, loyalist, security forces, intelligence services and political/government.

So if we want to know, not just what happened, but why it happened, then we need the keys that will open those doors.

If an Amnesty is declared participants may, or may not, wish to discuss their own actions.  Silence might not satisfy everybody, but it is far better than the building of a school of falsification.

In the meantime our duty is clear.

Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre are 100% right to protect their sources – they deserve our solidarity.

– John Meehan, January 25 2011

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