On January 30th 2016, four victims of the conflict in Ireland spoke at a unique event in central London. While the occasion provided victims from very different backgrounds a platform from which to share intimate, personal testimony of real-life experience, it also presented the previously unaware audience with a rare opportunity to consider the appalling consequences of politically motivated violence. It was at once shocking and inspiring, but the unprecedented, highly emotional reaction of all present left us in no doubt that such a powerful experience had to be shared with a wider world.
On that day, the Truth and Reconciliation Platform project was born to afford every victim of the conflict in Ireland, north and south, an opportunity to tell his or her own personal story. History must not be rewritten or distorted, nor should the true testimony of those who lived it be redacted, for truth is the DNA of civilization.
“Very moving statements from victims and survivors at today’s seminar”Dan Mulhall, Irish Ambassador to The United States of America
“I doubt if I’ve spoken at a more emotionally-charged conference, where tears flowed listening to NI Troubles’ victims. Quality event”Eamon Mallie, Northern Ireland political journalist and author
The event, entitled Troubles, Tragedy and Trauma, was held on January 30th, 2016 at St Paul’s Church Centre, Hammersmith, London. It was organised by St Mary’s MA Irish Studies student, Michael O’Hare, chaired by former Irish President and Distinguished Professor in Irish Studies at St Mary’s University, Dr Mary McAleese, and sponsored by St Mary’s University, Twickenham, Hammersmith Irish Cultural Centre and The All-Party Parliamentary Committee on Ireland.
The guest speakers on that occasion were Alan McBride, husband of Sharon McBride who was murdered in the Shankill Fish Bar Bombing in 1993, Stephen Travers, survivor of The Miami Showband Massacre of July 31 st 1975, Joe Campbell, son of RUC Sergeant Joe Campbell who was murdered at Cushendall in 1977, and Eugene Reavey, whose three brothers were murdered at their family home in South Armagh in 1976.
Every Truth and Reconciliation Platform event clearly illustrates that no side has a monopoly on suffering or loss, and that delivering that message without rancour or malice comprehensibly defuses acrimony and stimulates constructive dialogue, rather than recrimination and counter-recrimination.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
The founders of Truth and Reconciliation Platform know from personal experience the terrible consequences of terrorism, and fully understand the heartbreak of losing loved ones in such awful circumstances. But, in order to witness the futility of violence and to evidence the real value of peace, we need your help. With your support, this unique and historic project can help create lasting peace and genuine reconciliation through talking and listening and learning from each other.
To ensure that every victim is not just heard but also listened to, Truth and Reconciliation Platform requires funding. The cost of each presentation is considerable, but worth every penny to witness ancient barriers come down and old enemies reconcile. You can help us to build a safer, more peaceful and tolerant future for everyone by contributing to the ongoing work of Truth and Reconciliation Platform.
THE MIAMI SHOWBAND PEACE CENTRE
This year, Truth and Reconciliation Platform aimed to open purpose-designed premises in Newry, County Down, to provide victims’ groups, along with individual victims and their loved ones, with a secure place to work from, and to facilitate dialogue and peace-building. Unfortunately, the necessary restrictions imposed due to the Covid_19 pandemic meant that all of our fundraising events had to be put on hold.
Fortunately, TaRP had raised enough funding to establish a virtual Peace Centre from where it continues its work of Peace and Reconciliation. The online Miami Showband Peace Centre is named in memory of three popular young musicians of mixed religions, from north and south, who lost their lives in 1975 while working together, literally in perfect harmony, to bring happiness and healing to everyone on the island of Ireland regardless of social, religious or political background.
To date, Truth and Reconciliation Platform has attracted and influenced a global audience which it continues to grow every day; in just four years, the stories and testimonies of TaRP witnesses have reached hundreds of millions of people all over the world.
Please support the essential, ongoing work of Truth and Reconciliation Platform (registered Charity number NIC106763) by donating to our GoFundMe appeal.
TaRP’s work is assisted by: