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Truth and Reconciliation Platform Event

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Truth and Reconciliation Platform: 17 October 2018

The School of Law was pleased to host the Truth and Reconciliation Platform (TaRP) at the Moot Court on 17 October 2018. The event was organised by the Apologies, Abuses and Dealing with the Past team, a ESRC funded research project bringing together researchers from Queen’s School of Law, Politics and Social Sciences. The talk was chaired by Professor Kieran McEvoy, Professor of Law and Transitional Justice at Queen’s University Belfast.

Eugene Reavy, who co-founded the Platform in 2016 with Stephen Travers, testified about the killing of three of his brothers in Whitecross in 1976. His siblings - John-Martin and Brian - were murdered by members of an Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) paramilitary gang in the family house. Anthony was severely wounded and left for dead; he died a couple of weeks later. Eugene Reavy explained that his father had called for non-retaliation to spare other families the loss they had to endure. Mr Reavy is pursuing this path today.

Anne Morgan is the sister of Seamus Ruddy who disappeared in Paris in 1985, very likely killed by an Irish republican paramilitary group. She exposed her struggle to uncover the body of her brother, the death threats her family had to face and her talks with members of Irish National Liberation Army until the discovery of Seamus’s body in France in 2017. She actively helps families of ’The Disappeared’ to discover the remains of their loved ones.

Stephen Travers, co-founder of the Platform, survived the Miami Showband massacre in 1975. The well-known band was on its way back to Dublin after a gig when their van was stopped by members of the UVF. Two UVF gunmen died when a bomb they were trying to install in the van prematurely went off and three members of the band were immediately shot by the remaining paramilitaries. Stephen Travers was severely wounded but survived. He advocates for the opening of historical files, in order to get access to the truth and to achieve a long-lasting peace in Northern Ireland.

Alan McBride lost his wife in the Shankill bombing in October 1993. His wife Sharon went to a fish shop on Shankill road when an IRA bomb targeting Ulster Defence Association quarters above the shop exploded. She was killed along with her father, leaving behind her husband and a two-year-old daughter. Alan McBride has been supporting victims of the Troubles and is involved in the Wave Trauma Centre.

All participants emphasised the vital need for victims to have access to truth. They also advocated for passing on the legacy of the conflict to future generations, to ensure reconciliation and peace in Northern Ireland.