Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Launch of the Consultative Group on the Past Report

Today the Consultative Group on the Past launched its report, here is the speech at the launch. The launch itself was marked by controversy. I was present and it was all very calm until various victims groups started an argument about the recommendation for a "recognition payment" to all the victims of the conflict. The scenes were actually fairly distressing and the launch was delayed for some time (see BBC footage). The whole affair has left the future of the report in doubt. Although the recommendation payment is only one of 30, no doubt controversy will reign.

Download the full report here.

Healing Through Remembering, which I Chair, released a press statement before the launch. It is below.

HTR Response to Report of the Consultative Group on the Past launch


27/01/2009 

The report builds on the work of Healing Through Remembering and supports the view, long held by Healing Through Remembering, that there is need for society to address the issues relating to the conflict in and about Northern Ireland in order to build a more peaceful future.

Kate Turner, Director of Healing Through Remembering says “What we need is measured and reasonable debate on these issues. The experience of HTR is that honest inclusive debate in an appropriate environment can bring agreement on reconciliation, truth and justice by those who hold opposing views and opinions.”

Brandon Hamber, chair of Healing Through Remembering says “The report offers an opportunity to genuinely engage with the difficult issue of the past. Few places have consulted so widely in their deliberations on such issues. We should not squander opportunities for dialogue on these thorny issues on the back of political posturing. Let’s debate the recommendations and try and find a measured way of taking this issue forward.”

Healing Through Remembering continues to enable deeper discussions, forums and events on how best to deal with the conflict in and about Northern Ireland to build a better future.