The necessity to address the trauma of survivors of the troubles in Northern Ireland is one of the major lessons to be learned from our past said Baroness Nuala O’Loan when she addressed the Tipperary Peace Forum at Ballykisteen Hotel on Friday last July 6th.
She urged all sides to listen to each other, hear each other and come to trust each other with compassionate eyes. “You never start from where you want to be. If you want to change from a conflicting situation into a peaceful one you have to do things that you can not stomach and you have to talk to people you do not want to talk to”. She shared some of her own experiences of the troubles and the fact that she lost an unborn baby as a result of being caught up in an I.R.A. bomb. She said that she had to get past that by not judging the perpetrators. “I haven’t walked in their shoes so I will not judge. I will leave judgement of them to God”. She made reference to the proposed investigation into the Bloody Sunday killings and counteracted claims that it would be a waste of money.
“It is never a waste of money to investigate a crime. All criminals should go before the courts, be subjected to a trial and if found guilty must be prosecuted”. The former Methodist President, the Rev. David Kerr told the audience that it is impetuous, impulsive gestures by ordinary people that are the most powerful.
“All of us on this island were born into two states that were born out of violence and we must remember that violence never solves the cause of violence”. He spoke of his time as a Minister in Limerick, a period when the troubles were at their worst in the North, and of reaching out to the Catholic community at that time and of his experiences in the aftermath of the Omagh bomb and of attending funerals of victims of all sides of that atrocity. We are he said two generations away from reaching the Jewish concept of the Hebrew Shalom which translated means “to the welfare and good of all the community”.
Full story in this week’s Tipperary Star.