Remembrance and Forgetting - Building a Peace in Northern Ireland

Year published: 2000

Building a Future in Northern Ireland - 13th May, 1998

In 1991 the Faith and Politics Group produced a booklet entitled Remembering Our Past: 1690 and 1916 in which we considered two foundation events in Irish history: the Battle of the Boyne and the Easter Rising. We tried to look at the significance of these foundation events for today. This booklet seeks to take the discussion further and to explore the significance of what we remember and what we forget. How the past is to be dealt with is an issue which has been given particular focus by the Good Friday Agreement and its subsequent endorsement in referenda, North and South. It is of the nature of political settlements that they look to the future. They require a new start to be made, which implies release from the past. How does this release best take place? Is it through a blessed act of oblivion (William Gladstone), drawing a double line underneath the past? Or is it through a remembering and a reckoning with the past?