Living With it Every Day

Tonight The Pensive Quill carries an article by guest writer, Sean Mc Aughey, on the topic of Truth and Reconciliation.

Living with it Every Day, by Sean Mc Aughey

The Truth and reconciliation committee ought to be regarded as one of the many new quangos designed to create a PR illusion that something new and refreshing is happening in the new 1998 North of Ireland harmonious state. This quango simply restores the British historical hierarchy of quangos through imposition and reinforces control in our country and our lives. Sadly it is another change, where everything looks like it has changed but nothing has changed at all. It is designed to project the appearance of positive action by highly intentioned good people accumulated in these various British committees which truly do nothing more than perpetuate the once again self appointed honest broker in Ireland, the British. As usual with British good intentions their sincerest efforts are based on a fallacy that Britain is not an antagonist. They are the “meat in the sandwich” the good guys and girls stuck in the middle of these irreconcilable native and planter Irish. This British genre will also exude from the Truth committee members and project them as nice victims of the Irish victims.

Who are the ultimate victims in the North of Ireland? I believe everyone who died as a result of the British/Irish conflict are the victims. I am never comfortable when anyone other than a family member is speaking up and out for their cherished family member. Too often in the North I have observed politicians, Church leaders and many others dig up the graves of the victims and utilize their dead bones for point scoring in one form or another and then when they have scored their political or moral point, they just walk away from the bones. These bones are then left for the families to rebury their loved ones over and over again.

The loss of a loved and cherished family member forever through death is no greater or no less in a British home or an Irish home than in a UDA home or IRA home. Grief is grief and bereavement is bereavement, it is universal. This measure is equal and the sense of loss is the same. The families are entitled to the truth surrounding the death of their loved ones, to assist with their closure – a resolve within them as they come to terms, in their own time with their gone and forever tragic loss. Any dishonouring of this loss is indignant and ought to be regarded as such, whether dishonour of grieving families is demonstrated by a quango, committee, church, PR report or state.

I am always mindful about the Catholic McCrory family from Belfast, which started life as a family of five, Mother, Father 2 sons and a daughter. One son Pearse was murdered at his home on Ravenhill Avenue by the Ulster Volunteer Force in 1972. After their oldest son’s murder, the McCrory family moved to Beechmount on the Falls Road. Within 4 years Pearse’s baby brother Neil then aged 17 was found shot dead on the banks of the Forth River at Glencairn, Belfast. Neil was murdered by a non specified loyalist death squad. Mrs McCrory died a short time afterwards from what many described as a broken heart and Mr McCrory died after his wife, also believed to be from his grief and loss. The only surviving member of the McCrory family is their daughter and first born child who has since emigrated to Australia.

It requires an exceptional committee attuned to bereavement without prejudice to articulate the pain and to honour the unimaginable loss of the McCrory family and the many other families who lost their much loved members through the most recent conflict in the North of Ireland.

Is it too unrealistic as the politicians like to say to let those who suffered such loss to do their own speaking and to formulate their own resolve? How can a committee of well meaning people who have not felt the pain of such loss decide what is best? Isn’t this like asking someone to get their foot off your throat because you can’t breathe and they continuously ask how do you know what is best for you? Those who lost loved ones during the conflict know this loss - they live with it every day. Must they submit a 25 page thesis to a “reconciliation committee” to prove that a foot on their throat does indeed block and hinder their respiratory system? It seems this way to me.


  1. Well...!

    On the first read it seems that you are criticising politicians for using the dead to score points and then go and do exactly that yourself.

    How can a committee of well meaning people who have not felt the pain of such loss decide what is best?No one can decide what is best, for what is good for one family may not be good for another, but I'm all in favour of any quango,committee, church or group who will give support to the families of the fallen. Even if it is only a listening ear, but hopefully more.

  2. Well, ya know, the Bible is pretty clear on things like this.......
    As twice divorced, then re-married, now a Widow...... My sins aren't any different than anyone else's !
    Black, white, green or purple..... All our sins are equal in HIS sight !
    Society has no right to Judge like that..........
    Check out Christ's own words, in John 8: 7.

    God Bless you all.

  3. Thank you for your comment Sophie. Your reading is right I am criticising politicians among others listed for point scoring and digging up the graves and leaving the bones there for families to rebury over and over again.

    If you read that i am also guilty of what I condemn then I am a hyopcrite and I deserve and fully accept your criticism Sophie.

    Go raibh mile maith agat


  4. Sean,

    A comment like that can surprise a person. I never called you a hypocrite. People like me, anonymous posters shoot their mouth off much too quickly.

    It was a good piece and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, hopefully I'll be reading more of you here.

    My apologies if you took it as insulting. It wasn't meant that way, merely an observation, that others may agree with or not.

  5. Thank you Sophie I do not consider your comments insulting or in any manner offensive.

    This is a difficult and delicate subject for all of us. But that is no reason to void it.

    I endeavoured to higlight that more than a listening ear is required and that a listening heart and soul is needed.

    I am concerned about any forum that excludes the stories as told from the perspective of the family could be dishonouring their loss and the life of their dead family member.

    Yes my memory recalls how grief was utilized as a platform in the press by Church leaders, Politicians and others. The families were in a frozen state of animated suspension. They were more focussed on mourning and burying their loved one with dignity to be concerned with the indignant behaviour in the media by others.

    Decades has passed now and some families are thawing out from their animated suspension state and remembering how they were exploited and how their loved ones were misrepresented. This is still a source of anguish and regret for them today.

    Perhaps a better forum will air the familes truth and not only record but let their story be told - their way, perhaps.


  6. Sean wrote: "Perhaps a better forum will air the familes truth and not only record but let their story be told - their way, perhaps".
    I don't know if this Shared Troubles website is what he has in mind but it is worth looking at and if any family member wants to add something . . .

  7. Excellent piece written by somebody showing real compassion and understanding.

  8. `In relation to anonymous post re Sharedtoubles site, yes this is by far a better forum and closer to what i believe and feel is right. Thank you for this information.

    To sharedtroubles posting thank you it is a important matter for all of us in our society and indeed those who suffered the loss of a much loved family member.

    The family of victims ought not to be dishonoured or disrespected intentionally or otherwise.

    The shared troubles website offers a dignified forum and an excellent template that others genuinely concerned ought to know about.

    I didn't know about this site until now.

    My thanks to Anthony McIntyre and all others involved with The Pensive Quill, for publishing my viewpoint and especially for the subsequent enlightenment I have since received.

    Go raibh mile maith agaibh gach.

    Sean McAughey

  9. Sean, good piece. I knew the family. Visited them in their Beechmount Grove home many years ago - long before Peggy went to Australia. Pearse was the only one dead at that time. Can't recall who it was I went up with.

  10. Sean wrote: "The shared troubles website offers a dignified forum and an excellent template that others genuinely concerned ought to know about".
    I'm glad you found it helpful and hope you will pass the word along to anyone who might be interested.Alex
    PS I have absolutely no vested interest in this site and have never been connected in any way with its set-up and development.