The recent 30th anniversary of the IRA murder of eight workmen at Teebane is but a fresh example of the ongoing anguish of the victims of terrorism which brings to my mind Yad Vashem.
This is Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. The 40-acre site is prominently located on the slopes of Mount Herzel in western Jerusalem. It incorporates, amongst other facilities a history museum, a research institute, a publishing house, as well as memorial sites. It is the second-most visited tourist attraction in Israel.
Whilst there is already a National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, it is long overdue that a fitting memorial be established in Northern Ireland to ensure that future generations never forget the evil of terrorism, its innocent victims and the anguish that was wantonly inflicted on generations of families.
Such a memorial would also constitute an ongoing recognition of the gallantry of police officers and soldiers, as well as judges and others, who lost their lives or sustained injury, whether physical or mental. Without their dedication the IRA could not have been defeated.
Creating such a memorial represents an appropriate approach to the issue of so-called “legacy”, rather than the misconceived concept of amnesty which benefits perpetrators rather than victims.
The risk of ongoing witch-hunts of former security force members is more properly addressed through providing that the communication of a ‘no prosecution’ decision cannot be reviewed in the absence of compelling fresh evidence that could not reasonably have been earlier obtained.
I suspect that there will be the usual suspects who prefer to laud the practitioners of murder.
But it is the duty of government to give priority to the interest of victims over the distorted perspective of those who have inflicted so much suffering and ongoing trauma.
Jeremy Burchill, Harmby, North Yorkshire
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