The race for the Áras
Sir, – Seán Gallagher is high in the polls without using the poles. Have posters had their day? – Yours, etc,
Sir, – In supporting Ann McCabe for her brave position in opposing the presidential candidature of Martin McGuinness I also wish to offer my solidarity to all those, North and South, whose family and friends were murdered, injured or traumatised as a result of the Troubles.
The circumstances of the murder of my father Garda Richard Fallon in 1970 bring an additional layer of complexity to the story of the Troubles. For it is my belief that my father’s murder occurred due to the complicity and cowardice of the government of the Republic in responding to the violence and prejudice directed at Catholics in the North at that time. The truth of this sorry tale has yet to be formally acknowledged.
It has been said that there is no hierarchy of suffering. In agreeing with this idea we could do well to remember that many of us could never agree to the righteousness of murdering another human being in the pursuit of our political beliefs. That Mr McGuinness should continue to do so marks him as a man who recognises no constitution but his own and those who surround him. His candidacy ignores those whose experiences have not yet been honoured with an adequate truth.
I call on Mr McGuinness, and all of the candidates, to support a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the whole island which would have a statutory footing in both jurisdictions and which would call to account all of those whose hands are drenched in the blood of others.
Until a proper account of he Troubles has been given, and until those who have questions to be answered are responded to properly, I feel that Mr McGuinness’s self-appointed role as peacemaker is undeserved, premature and insulting to those of us who abhor political murder. I also feel that it is disrespectful towards those who have suffered as a result of his beliefs, whether they be British subjects or Irish citizens. The lack of a public, all-island based truth and reconciliation process is also a reflection of the shame-based politics we practice in the South.
We should remember the impact which the thousands of murders, maimings, beatings, threats and expatriations here and in Britain may have on thousands, in many examples for generations to come, and begin the process of breaking the chains of violence that imprison so many by insisting on a public account of what took place, North and South. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – So a construction developer with Fianna Fáil connections runs inexorably toward the Áras? To quote, then, from Julian Barnes’s The Sense of an Ending, “History is a raw onion sandwich...It just repeats...it burps...” – Yours, etc.