Our pain doesn’t come with an end date. Without delivering justice, the government’s Northern Ireland bill won’t work
Seamus Heaney’s seminal poem The Cure at Troy is often quoted by political leaders, most recently by Joe Biden during his campaign for the White House. It’s a poem about the trauma of conflict and division, the hope for reconciliation and a shared future; themes neatly aligned with the narrative of a US president trying to bring a nation together again.
But Heaney’s context is the place he called home. Northern Ireland, where the 30-year Troubles divided communities along green and orange lines. A place marked by violent conflict, where hope was seldom on the horizon. I am a relative of one of the victims of the Ballymurphy massacre in August 1971, one of the worst atrocities of the Troubles. Father Hugh Mullan was a Catholic priest killed unlawfully by the Parachute Regiment in Ballymurphy, west Belfast, as he went to help another victim and administer the last rites. He was shot once in the abdomen, and again in the back as he lay on the ground.
Liam Conlon is a relative of Hugh Mullan, victim of the Ballymurphy massacre, and chair of the Labour Party Irish Society