A frozen post-conflict situation December 12, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
The editorial in the SBP this weekend on the issue of Adams and Brian Stack was perhaps unusual given the broader tone of Irish media in this dispute. As it notes, the issue, and the personal confrontation at a news conference between Adams and Austin Stack was ‘another reminder that after more than 20 years since the IRA ceasefire, the hurt caused by the Northern conflict is very real’. How could it be otherwise. 20 years is both a remarkably long period of time and yet for those with personal histories like the Stacks and many more a blink of an eye. Indeed even the 43 years since the murder of Brian Stack is no time at all for that family.
And the SBP notes that ‘Adams has told the family… that he cannot go further in meeting their demands to discover who actually killed their father because he has no extra information. There is no prospect of him disclosing the identify of the senior IRA figures who he helped the Stacks to meet in 2013 at an undisclosed location in the North.’
And it adds:
It is a truly Faustian bargain for families of those murdered during the conflict. They have to effectively accept that minimal information about their loved ones last moments is the best they can hope for from shadowy IRA figures or loyalist paramilitaries.
But this is the unfortunate reality of conflicts throughout the world. The victims rarely get the justice they deserve. There are cold case investigations by the PSNI ongoing, but the prospects of success are always remote.
And it goes on to note that the parties have been unable to agree on a peace and reconciliation process – in large pat because it would require an amnesty for those involved in the 1,800 unsolved murders. This it describes as ‘unpalatable’ for many.
And so this is where matters stand. Inching hardly at all forward, perhaps in some ways back – no one will admit to anything in the current context. And that central reality, that were a process to be set in place only information would be made available. There would be no charges and no prison sentences. I don’t know if people see it in quite these terms, but one has to presume that the ending of the conflict and the broad agreement on this is what is regarded as the quid pro quo. So what are we left with? Parts of the media and the political structure dancing around the edge of this, knowing full well that little or none of this will be resolved short of the processes described. Indeed what of the latest news, as reported in the IT, and also mentioned in the Sunday Times yesterday, that at least one, perhaps a number of other TDs, were aware of details of the Adams email on the Stack case? What perceptions does that generate?
And then there’s time. Those involved are getting older, some have already gone. Already one generation involved in the Troubles, a young generation at that at the time, are preparing to move out of front-line politics. But that addresses none of the substantive aspects of this. And in any event would prove merely a pyrrhic victory one has to suspect for those parts of the media and political structure referenced above. And yet that appears to be the way this all ends.