‘Attorney General cannot ignore the past’ – Clarke

Newry Times News Posted by
Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Alliance South Down Councillor Patrick Clarke has criticised today’s comments by the Attorney General as an attempt to ‘sweep the past under the carpet’.

The Alliance Councillor questioned the Attorney General’s role in Northern Ireland’s political decision making process.

Clarke told Newry Times, “Dealing with our past and its legacy is a complicated multifaceted issue. Deep individual and collective hurt remains within our society, while competing demands for truth, justice and accountability remain unaddressed.

“These comments again raise serious concerns over the role of the Attorney General in Northern Ireland. His role is to provide impartial advice to the OFMdFM and the Executive, but his comments today are clearly meant to forward his own agenda. I have to wonder who asked him to interfere in such a delicate issue.

“The Alliance Party believes that we do need to find a comprehensive way to deal with the past, and that simply relying on the justice system alone, as is currently the case, is not providing the justice, truth and reconciliation that victims deserve, and our community needs,” he insisted.

“A clear starting point is advice produced by the Commission for Victims and Survivors, released in June 2010, which argued clearly, from a victims’ perspective, for a process with three elements: holding people to account through the courts; recovering information for families; and examining issues arising from the conflict which have had a critical importance for our society.

Clarke added, “Their work informs our approach, and our requirement for three aspects, of justice, truth and reconciliation. Rather than just ignore the past, as the Attorney General seems to suggest, we must promote reconciliation and initiatives to promote healing at a wider community level.”

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