Tuesday 6 December 2016

Hyde Park trial saga only highlights unprincipled nature of peace deals

Published 01/03/2014 | 02:30

The way we were: Peace process hero US Senator George Mitchell, centre, smiles as he is applauded by fellow recipients of the John F Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, John Hume, left, of the SDLP and Gerry Adams, during a ceremony in Boston, in 1998. The presentation was to mark the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Also applauding above was Liz O'Donnell, then Minister of State, and Paul Murphy, Minister of State in the North. AP
The way we were: Peace process hero US Senator George Mitchell, centre, smiles as he is applauded by fellow recipients of the John F Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, John Hume, left, of the SDLP and Gerry Adams, during a ceremony in Boston, in 1998. The presentation was to mark the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Also applauding above was Liz O'Donnell, then Minister of State, and Paul Murphy, Minister of State in the North. AP

The images related to some atrocities seem to survive the passing of time. Omagh, Enniskillen, Brighton, Canary Wharf and Hyde Park, are accompanied by particularly vivid memories for most people.

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The bombing of the mounted horse guard at Hyde Park because of its iconic touristic connections with the queen and Buckingham Palace was a particularly memorable event. The carnage caused by the bomb on a bright sunny day in London was worldwide news. In Provo language, it was a "spectacular" with the power to attract maximum coverage and political attention. The dismay and upset at the collapse of the trial for this act of terrorism is wholly understandable.

Every now and then we are reminded of what we actually lived through and, indeed, at times normalised for 30 years on these islands. The term "Troubles" hardly captures the grotesque violence and personal injury experienced by thousands of people. The undeniable success of the peace process and political settlement encompassed by the Good Friday Agreement can unfortunately eclipse the detail of the horror unleashed by the IRA campaign of violence.

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