Trevor Ringland: Peter Taylor’s film left many questions unanswered or superficially dealt with and we should expect better than that

Trevor Ringland writes: 'Without in any way wanting to take away from the terrible wrong that was Bloody Sunday, 78 people were killed in that three month period prior to it'
Trevor Ringland writes: 'Without in any way wanting to take away from the terrible wrong that was Bloody Sunday, 78 people were killed in that three month period prior to it'
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If Peter Taylor had come to Northern Ireland 90 days earlier than the date of Bloody Sunday he could have attended and reported on nearly 80 funerals linked to the period we too simplistically call the Troubles, never mind those who nearly died.

There were 78 people killed in that three month period, from the end of October 1971 up to January 30 1972.

Peter Taylor, who has been reporting on Northern Ireland since he first arrived on Bloody Sunday in 1972, whose reflective documentary on the Troubles was screened by the BBC last week

Peter Taylor, who has been reporting on Northern Ireland since he first arrived on Bloody Sunday in 1972, whose reflective documentary on the Troubles was screened by the BBC last week

The Troubles were well alight before Bloody Sunday, without in any way wanting to take away from the terrible wrong that it was.

Taylor asked former army commanders if the IRA could ever be militarily defeated and they told him no.

Did he ask them the natural follow up question to whether or not the IRA could be defeated militarily, namely could they win militarily?

Absolutely not would surely have been the answer if he had asked that question!

Trevor Ringland, who is a former Ireland rugby international, a solicitor, a politician and a reconciliation activist

Trevor Ringland, who is a former Ireland rugby international, a solicitor, a politician and a reconciliation activist

Something the actual IRA recognised in calling a halt to their campaign within a couple of years of Bloody Sunday.

The Provisional movement took another twenty years to reach the same conclusion as well as being left with no alternative thanks to the work of the security forces.

• Ben Lowry on Taylor, see link below

The real story of those times was the young people on all sides who did not turn to violence and the many who worked hard to counter its impact.

Real leaders such as the Peace People, Gordon Wilson and so many others.

They won the argument.

Or did Taylor not appreciate that all the families of the hunger strikers were split down the middle as to those who said they had to die for the cause and the others who challenged that and argued they should live!

Who was responsible for the hatred in them that led them to join the IRA in the first place?

Or how about the fact that if collusion was at the level that Taylor implied then why did those heavily informed loyalist paramilitaries kill no more than between 26 and 40 IRA activists?

The IRA killed a similar number of loyalists.

Ethnic cleansing in border areas, the widespread bombing and shooting campaign that murdered so many or the exodus of some 15,000 of the British-Irish from the West Bank in Londonderry, never mind the fact that without the army we would have had a civil war.

There were so many questions left unanswered in Peter Taylor’s programme or only superficially dealt with and we should expect better than that.

We owe it to all who died in the Troubles that we ensure what happened never happens again.

It would seem there are those who want to use legacy to continue the totally unnecessary and unjustified conflict their flawed ideologies inflicted upon us.

That needs countered by proper scrutiny and pointing out the cold facts and ceasing the separate commemorations.

The Troubles should have ceased when the army was deployed on Northern Ireland’s streets 50 years ago.

That it did not led to Bloody Sunday and Narrow Water and the destruction of so many other lives.

Violence never was and never will solve the problems of this Island and that is the only proper narrative and conclusion that could come out of a proper analysis of the Troubles.

Facing up to that reality is the first step on the journey of genuine reconciliation.

It is a positive that we are discussing how to meet each other’s fears and concerns as we owe it to our children to do so.

It should of course have happened over 100 years ago.

At the core of those discussions has to be that while Irish nationalism/republicanism based the birth of their nation on the ideology of the Easter Rising of 1916, it has been used to justify the murder or their neighbours ever since.

That needs faced up to in the political world.

That is after all what the people voted for in 1998 is it not?

Ben Lowry: Taylor’s film is revealing about him