Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The 'North'

With all of the media coverage surrounding the publication of the Saville Report, I have been surprised by the lack of historical context provided in the coverage, particularly to the existence of a civil rights movement in Northern Ireland at that time.    It's so easy now, 16 years or so after the first IRA ceasefire and well into the Peace Process, to forget what happened in that corner of Ireland and part of the UK and it surprised me (although perhaps it shouldn't) that even a fairly recent politics graduate had no knowledge of the issues (other than internment) which led to the formation of the civil rights movement and the marches which followed.

Events in 'The North' cast a shadow over my childhood in rural western Ireland.  We did not own a TV until I was 11 (just to be clear, 1977) but our 'wireless' news was dominated by events over the Border and while the coverage was probably biased in favour of the Catholic minority, we were left in no doubt of the many injustices they suffered in terms of housing allocation, inability to vote, gerrymandering of constituencies etc. 

Because it's complex, it's sometimes too easy to write off the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland as being some sort of historical dispute dating back to 1690 and beyond...but the events which led to the Bloody Sunday shootings and long aftermath, took place within my lifetime. 

Reconciliation, in my view is only possible where there is a real and meaningful understanding of the suffering of both parties involved and maybe the publication of the Saville Report yesterday and the reaction to it, has helped everyone move a bit closer towards that goal.

1 comment:

  1. cameron gets all the plaudits over here for his speech but no mention for the party who set
    up the enquirery .if the tories had been in power would the enquirery