Tuesday 21 October 2014

Forgiveness is better than more inquiries: Bruton

Brian Dowling Political Correspondent

Published 05/04/2004 | 00:11

FORMER Taoiseach John Bruton has urged the establishment of a comprehensive Forgiveness, Reconciliation and Truth Commission as an alternative to more inquiries into killings during the Northern troubles.

Mr Bruton made the call after a Memorial Service in Aughnamullen Church, Co Monaghan, for the late Senator Billy Fox who was murdered by the IRA in March 1974 near Clones while on a visit to the home of his girlfriend.

The former Taoiseach, who was close to Senator Fox and shared an office with him in Leinster House, said that at the time a formal statement was issued by the IRA.

According to this statement, the IRA was "was not involved in any way in the activities which resulted in the death of Senator Billy Fox". Instead, it pointed the finger at a group of former B Specials from Co Fermanagh, led by serving officers of the British army.

"The British army. That is what the IRA said," Mr Bruton told those gathered, after he said that five persons were subsequently convicted for IRA membership and Mr Fox's murder.

Mr Bruton said there had been hundreds of similar killings; he asked whether people should now demand a reopening of the files on all unsolved terrorist murders and a retraction of all false statements issued at the time.

Mr Bruton said the murder of Billy Fox still makes him angry. "If I am still angry, I can only imagine the feelings of those much closer to him than I," he said.

However, he believed the time has come to prioritise forgiveness, in respect of all those evil deeds.

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