Public apologies are widely regarded as an important element of ‘dealing with the past’. However, in practice the precise interplay between apologies and accountability, truth, reconciliation, reparations and legitimacy is little understood. ‘Saying sorry’ is not a substitute for either legal accountability or truth recovery. However, done properly, a legitimate apology can be part of reparations for victims and can contribute to broader societal reconciliation. Taking Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as a case-study, this ESRC-funded project has explored the dynamics underpinning a legitimate apology. It has focused in particular upon the role of apologies in dealing with past harms linked to political conflict, historical institutional child abuse and the economic crisis.
The closing conference on Friday 26 November 2021 will showcase our empirical research on the views of victims, apologisers and the general public. The format for the conference is detailed below. Each presentation will be approx. 20 mins followed by 10 mins Q&A.
9.30 Introduction and Project Overview – Professor Kieran McEvoy, QUB Law
9.45 Apologies and the Public Imagination - Professor Shadd Maruna, QUB SSESW
10.15 Shame, Guilt and Legal Responsibility: Apologies for Historical Institutional Abuse – Professor Anne-Marie McAlinden, QUB Law
10.45 Accounting for the Banking Crisis: The Role of Public Apologies – Professor Muiris Mac Carthaigh, QUB HAPP
11.15 The Role of Apologies in Addressing the Legacy of Conflict - Dr Anna Bryson, QUB Law
11.45 How to Say Sorry: Designing and Delivering a Legitimate Apology - Professor Kieran McEvoy, QUB Law
*We are conscious that the issues raised by the conference theme may be upsetting for some participants.
What to do if you feel you have been affected by these issues
If you feel that you have been affected by any of the issues in the study and would like to avail of counselling support, please contact:
Queen’s Staff Counselling service: 0800 389 5362
Queen’s Student Wellbeing Service: 028 9097 2893/ 0808 800 0016 (24hr Freephone)
NI - Victims and Survivors Service - 028 90 279 100
Wave Trauma Centre – 028 9077 9922
Historical Institutional Child Abuse:
Belfast - 028 9032 6803
Derry / L'derry - 028 7126 0566
Enniskillen - 028 6632 0046
Debt Advice NI - 0800 043 0550
Consumerline - 0300 123 6262