Bloody Friday anniversary lets community reflect on past, plan for future

20 07 2012

 

SDLP North Belfast MLA Alban Maginness has said that those behind the Bloody Friday atrocity owe it to the victims to share information as the wider community reflects on the conflicts of the past and looks for positive solutions in the future.

Mr Maginness, who, as a 22-year-old law student, was at home close to the site of the Cavehill Road bomb on Bloody Friday, was speaking after the broadcast of a BBC documentary ahead of the 40th anniversary of the atrocity tomorrow.

 He said: “Given the powerful nature of the BBC programme on Bloody Friday, it is time for those who were involved in perpetrating the atrocity to reflect on the legacy of it.

 “They should at the very least be prepared to disclose information to the victims and their families.

 “The Bloody Friday anniversary is a timely reminder of the futility of violence and of the necessity for us to sustain the peaceful society we have been moving towards as well as to let ourselves and future generations learn that any resort to violence will not solve our problems, but, instead, make them more difficult to deal with.

 “In fact, we have two major issues to deal with – the past, and the present.

 “To deal with the past, we will need a comprehensive mechanism to assist in addressing the legacy of the atrocities committed during the Troubles.

 “It is no longer good enough for lip service to be paid to creating a real and workable means of dealing with the past – we need to be ambitious enough for our society that we can dare to move beyond cosy stability and, with a spirit of cooperation, explore how we approach truth and reconciliation so we can least begin to heal the wounds caused by violence, distrust and division.

 “As for the present, the current system in Stormont, which worked so well in creating the stability needed at the time of its inception, is being hijacked by tacit agreements and in-house deals by the DUP and Sinn Féin.

 “What is missing in the way we deal with our present system is a sense of goodwill, which is essential in fostering a sense of partnership.

 “We recognise the progress we have made and the great things that have come out of it, but while we have two parties whose arrogance – summed up in this recent series of announced ‘agreements’ that only seem to have been agreed within OFMDFM – deny a true sense of partnership, we cannot hope to move towards a shared future, or a meaningful mechanism of dealing with the divided past.

 “Partnership will create the conditions in which true reconciliation can take place and our society can begin to unite and this should be the ambition of all democratic politicians, but, unfortunately, that is not being fostered by the current carve-up.

 “We need to move beyond grandiose statements from Stormont Castle, or lectures on democratic politics from the Secretary of State – we need to effect a step-change in our attitudes, away from Westminster cap-doffing and petty personal interests and forge our own future: a future in partnership, a future in reconciliation, a future free from fear.

 “If we can offer that to the memory of the victims of Bloody Friday, we will have at least the foundations of a job well done.”

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