Let us be honest about the terrorism of the past and failings on all sides
A letter from Dr Philip McGarry
Rev David Clements (‘Catholic tag is debatable but IRA did target Protestants,’ Jan 30, see link below) was typically thoughtful in his critique of Ian Paisley’s ill judged and imbalanced comment about the ‘Catholic’ IRA (notably he didn’t refer to the ‘Protestant’ UVF).
If we are to heal our sadly divided society we can’t ignore the ugly realities of the past; they remorselessly trickle under the soil. And like any psychopathology, it can only be cured by addressing the causes.
This will require great care and sensitivity with our words. But we cannot continue to ignore the truth and ‘say nothing’.
Feile 2022: Tourism NI indicates it could pull funding for West Belfast Festival unless organisers live up to ‘responsibility to promote good relations’
PUP boss Billy Hutchinson indicates black flags bearing UVF slogan and UVF imagery were not put up by the UVF
Busy NI road to remain closed for 'most of the day' after serious road traffic collision
‘He needs to leave our club NOW!’ Strong reaction Larne FC’s John Herron being pictured in ‘tiocfaidh ar la’ gun top as club suspends him
Cliftonville FC stonewalls questions after Ronan Hale pictured with arm around player wearing republican rifle slogan
It is incontrovertible that the members of the UDA/UVF etc were all from Protestant backgrounds, primarily targeted Catholics, and their core ideology was unionism.
It is undeniable that the members of the IRA/INLA etc were all from Catholic backgrounds, primarily targeted Protestants, and their core ideology was nationalism.
Of course no gunman was inspired to kill because of his commitment/aversion to the doctrine of transubstantiation, nor the salience of the Westminster Confession.
It was so much more complex.
The churches have substantially shaped our society, often to very great benefit.
However religion has also at times been a factor in pushing us apart.
Rev Clements is right to tell us that if we permit a moral fog to cloud our judgement of the past, we condemn our children to relive it.
President Higgins spoke in December of the importance of ‘ethical remembering, not the abuse of memory’.
Let us never be afraid to speak honestly about the failings (on all sides) of the past, with integrity and respect for the truth.
Therein lies the real hope for a better future.
Dr Philip Mc Garry, OBE, Fellow of Royal College Psychiatrists, Belfast BT9
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers — and consequently the revenue we receive — we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.
Subscribe to newsletter.co.uk and enjoy unlimited access to the best Northern Ireland and UK news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.
Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.