From the loyalist blog It's Still Only Thursday the fourth interview for the Ordinary Voices Project.
Interview 4 of our Ordinary Voices Project. Respondent is Lez – who describes herself as “Grammar school educated. Happily retired RUC/PSNI. Happily divorced mother of two grown up kids. Passionate about family, animals, gin,integrated education, truth and travel. Hate sectarianism, lies and lack of integrity”
As with all the interviews in the Ordinary Voices project, this interview was conducted via email.
Question 1: How would you describe yourself politically?
Lez: Apolitical. I have been very fortunate in my life to see many sides of the arguments. I have seen the way Catholic communities were treated by certain members of UDR ( I experienced this first hand) I came from Protestant background so see how unionists view life here but mostly I’ve seen just the senseless manner in which peoples lives were taken, how easily others killed and maimed and how Both communities vilified police.
Question 2: Do you think that legacy issues are damaging the peace process?
Lez: Yes. It would seem that for many high profile cases it is a case of getting the truth from security forces/state, but where is the truth coming from Republicans? When Gerry Adams can’t even admit being a member of the IRA how can anyone expect the ‘truth’ when everything seems to be so one sided?
Question 3: Do you think that legacy issues are being handled well?
Lez: I have mixed feelings on legacy issues. For some victims, it can never bring them justice because the very people who they rely on to give them closure and answers will never actually come out and tell the truth. By these people I mean IRA and the state. Do I think we should just draw a line in the sand and put the legacy issues down to unprecedented times and accept things have changed? Personally I could but I am acutely aware that many, many victims cannot do that.
Question 4: What do you think could be done to help improve community relations and foster reconciliation?
Lez: Integration of schools is the single most important and successful way of improving community relations. When people start to Open their ears and listen rather than being so entrenched that they lose the ability to listen then we may have a chance.
Question 5: Do you believe there is a bias in regards to legacy issues?
Lez: Unfortunately yes. As outlined in previous answers, it would seem that security forces would be easy targets for legacy investigations since there were some sort of records kept, it’s much harder for victims of terrorism to get to the truth.
Question 6: Do you believe that Loyalists, especially within the UPRG and PUP, have done enough to reach out to nationalists and republicans?
Lez: I think that David Ervine was the greatest loss to the loyalist community. Forward thinking, articulate and repentant of his wrongdoing. It’s the DUP who have done nothing whatsoever to reach out not just to nationalists but also to Protestant community.
Question 7: Do you think that republicans could do more to reach out to the Loyalist/Unionist community?
Lez: I think admission of guilt, admission of the wrongs done to so very many people. A start would be for Gerry Adams to admit his role as a Republican in a proscribed organisation.
Question 8: What are your hopes and aspirations for NI in the medium to long term?
Lez: More integration of education system, more business investment, more emphasis and funding for reconciliation projects. For our politicians to get back to actually earning their wage and for parties to work more closely on co-operation where possible instead of bickering, sniping and denigrating each other. Find the common goals and work harder to achieve those together rather than constantly in opposition.
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