We owe a debt to the people who kept NI going during the terror

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

A report has been launched which records the experiences of social workers during the violent years in Northern Ireland (see page 18).

The study, called ‘The Voices of Social Work Through The Troubles,’ tells some of the stories of more than 100 such workers who lived through the shootings and bombs and rioting.

One worker has recalled being stopped by masked men, and having to drive round burning cars during the Drumcree disorder in the mid 1990s.

That was a tense time for the Province, but even so it was less serious than the early 1970s and the time around the 1981 hunger strike and 1985 Anglo Irish Agreement.

Records such as this are of historical importance. Each year, another tier of people who lived through that period dies. Anyone who became an adult as the Troubles began in 1968/69 is now near their three score years and ten.

By far the most violent year of our troubled recent history was 1972, when NI teetered on the brink of civil war.

As that terrible time recedes into the past, and life here gets ever more normal, it is easy to forget the trauma. We now live in an age when schools, or even on occasion public transport, stop in harsh winter weather.

We owe so much to the teachers, doctors, bus drivers, journalists, social workers, civil servants, business people, postmen, indeed workers in every walk of life who kept society running during the decades of terror.