On Saturday 13th May Dalaradia attended the Red Hand Comrades Association ‘D’ Company Annual Memorial Day parade.
The parade formed up at Drumhirk Drive and proceeded to the remarkable memorial garden at Owenroe Drive for a short service.
Afterwards there was entertainment in the Kilcooley Community Centre.
The patriots blood is the seed of freedoms tree.
Honor, Service, Sacrifice – Lest We Forget
How we think about the future in Northern Ireland is inevitably informed by the past and the processes and mechanisms we develop to deal with the legacy of the Troubles.
This should not be about drawing a line under the past – it is both unfair and inappropriate that we should ask people to draw a line under their suffering and pain – but rather about drawing a clear line between the past and our present and future. This process is complex and convoluted and is one that a series of agreements – including the most recent Stormont House Agreement – have failed to come to terms with and there remains no clearly articulated and logical approach.
The recent report published by the House of Commons Defence Select Committee (Investigations into fatalities in Northern Ireland involving British military personnel) makes an important and valuable contribution to the argument.
A starting point is the assertion (noted in Select Defence Committee report) by Professor Kieran McEvoy and Dr Louise Mallinder (Truth, Amnesty and Prosecutions: Models For Dealing with the Past, 2013) that “the duty to investigate does not amount to a duty to prosecute.”
Here, they are distinguishing between the requirement for ‘independent’, ‘effective’ and ‘transparent’ investigations of incidents involving fatalities under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the need to prosecute based on the outcome of any investigation. In other words it is possible to have a legally compliant investigation without prosecution. This is of significant importance in how we think about legacy and the past as it provides a context through which victims, survivors and their families have the best possible opportunity to retrieve information about what happened by allowing for thorough investigation without the fear of prosecution. In this way it provides a context through which we can begin to draw a clear line between the past and our present and future.
The Defence Committee report, which it should be noted had a focus on military personnel involved in the Troubles, recommends initially an “enactment of a statute of limitations,” covering all Troubles-related incidents, up to the signing of the 1998 Belfast Agreement, which involved members of the Armed Forces” (p. 17). However, it also states that a future government may also wish to consider “whether the statute of limitations should also cover all Troubles-related incidents” (p. 18), that is be extended to include all state and non-state actors. Such a statute of limitations provides a framework through which the fear of prosecution can be removed, allowing for thorough and transparent investigation.
It is inevitable and understandable that for many victims and survivors from all backgrounds, such a statute of limitations may be both difficult and unpalatable. However, it remains the best possible context through which legacy issues can be resolved.
It provides the space through which we can develop a comprehensive and bespoke approach to supporting victims, survivors and their families rather than one that is piecemeal and divisive. Too many complex, and sometimes contradictory institutions only serve to prolong suffering.
This approach should include properly resourced provisions so that all survivors and bereaved families can avail of the best possible services in terms of health and wellbeing, education and employment. It also paves the way for effective information and truth retrieval. Loved ones will have a much greater chance of finding out those details and answers they are desperate to hear. We all have a duty to ensure that the past is not a burden and liability for future generations who bear no responsibility for the conflict and should not continue to suffer from its consequences and legacy.
If we are to move forward together as a society, then a statute of limitations for state and non-state actors covering all conflict related cases offers the most effective way of providing information and truth for bereaved families and moving Northern Ireland toward a more stable, tolerant and peaceful future.
We would like to congratulate our friend, Pittsburgh University professor Tony Novosel on winning the Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service Award.
The Chancellor’s letter pulled from all the endorsements Tony got from Northern Ireland including one from a Dalaradia member.
Tony is being honored for “the important impact that you have had on communities and students in Northern Ireland and on the ongoing peace process,” the chancellor’s letter states. “Through oral histories, presentations, writing, panel discussion, friendships and mentorships you have had a powerful positive impact on political factions, communities and students.”
He first visited Northern Ireland at the height of the conflict in 1973 and admits he knew very little about the causes of the war, but set about to study it. Since then, he has visited Northern Ireland more than 50 times and began researching his book, Northern Ireland’s Lost Opportunity: The Frustrated Promise of Political Loyalism, in 2006. Before carrying out his research, Novosel admits going into the project with a negative view of loyalism. “I thought of loyalism as nothing more than fascism,” he said. “To outsiders like me, they were Neanderthals. We thought of them as being similar to the Afrikaners in South Africa. This is very much a common opinion. For instance, I remember at the beginning of the project, a friend of mine asked me what I was researching. I replied ‘loyalist political thinking’. His immediate response back was, ‘do they think?’. That’s the general attitude that’s out there. However, when I started speaking to the people involved, I saw a very different picture. It’s something that’s difficult to take in at first.”
Well done Tony and we look forward to seeing you again in the near future.
You can purchase his book here – http://booksplea.se/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=704034&google=GBP&gclid=CjwKEAjw_PfGBRDW_sutqMbQsmMSJAAMpUapVJtw14W2Ky909LvKpZVX4Whsa1DDTxCA-qvI4eqxUBoCfqnw_wcB
The REACH Project, of which Dalaradia is associated with, has launched their new website.
Please be advised more will be added to the site in the coming weeks/months.
The REACH (Renewing – Engaging – Advancing – Community – Hopes) Project Mission Statement
To deliver the hopes of the PUL Community. To help to understand their history and culture. To educate the young and the Elderly. To help our people to move on to a peaceful & brighter future for all the people of Northern Ireland
to work with others with confidence of our future
During the month of October our members worked to refurbish the grave of Ulster’s great poet, Sir Samuel Ferguson.
Sir Samuel Ferguson was best known for his poems on the Red Ranch Knights and Congal Claen and came from Ulster Scots grandparents.
We twice cleaned the sandstone surround and metal railings around the grave as well as refurbishing the marble plaque. The pathway and steps to the grave has been power washed and treated to remove moss and staining.
We also removed the churches protective plate glass before cleaning the centuries old stain glass windows and replacing the glass as new. All windows in the church were professionally cleaned
A fitting tribute to a great Ulster scholar in this ancient St Johns Church in the middle of Dalaradia.