ALLIANCE Victims Spokesperson Eileen Bell has said that the Government needs to tread carefully if it intends to initiate any form of truth recovery process in Northern Ireland.
Mrs Bell was speaking after the Prime Minister suggested that there “needs to be some way of trying to both allow people to express their grief, their pain and their anger in respect of what happened in Northern Ireland without the past continually dominating the present and the future, and that is what we will try to do”.
Mrs Bell stated: “The Cory inquiries are not the end of the process to find out the truth of what happened during the Troubles. There are hundreds of other victims whose relatives will never get a public inquiry, but they also deserve to hear the truth. The Government needs to handle this subject very sensitively, and ensure that victims are put first. There is no simple answer about how we seek closure, as every victim will have a different view.
“It is also a fact that people see the truth of the past in different ways, as Bloody Sunday has clearly shown us. Victims, members of the security forces, paramilitaries – each views events from their own perspective, each sees their version as valid.
“This will be a tortuous process for many people, but we cannot rush into something as important to bringing the conflict to a close without listening to victims. It may be that we need to set up a form of public consultation involving a commission to try and gauge consensus and make proposals to the Government.
“Alliance and others have already suggested a Victims Forum as part of a victim-centred truth telling process, but we are willing to listen. We all need to remember that many people are still suffering today from the trauma of the past, and that any form of truth recovery process could be an ongoing one, as victims may not wish to come forward immediately.”