Northern Ireland Affairs Committee

Session 2003-2004

4 November 2004


RECONCILIATION: WAYS OF DEALING WITH NORTHERN         IRELAND'S PAST                                      

The Committee has decided to conduct an inquiry into possible ways of dealing with Northern Ireland's past.  It therefore proposes to examine:

The experience of efforts in other jurisdictions to move forward from a history of division and conflict, on a basis as widely acceptable as possible to affected communities and individuals who have suffered from violence

The Committee may also choose to examine associated issues which arise in the course of the inquiry.

The Rt Hon Michael Mates MP, Chairman of the Committee, explained the intention of the Committee:

"In May the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland announced that he was embarking on a  programme of  discussions about how Northern Ireland could find 'ways of dealing with the past which recognises the pain, grief and anger associated with it' but which 'enables it to build a better future for the next generation'.  The Committee wholeheartedly welcomes this initiative.

"The purpose of the inquiry we have announced today is to seek out and illuminate  ways which have been used to help resolve similar conflicts elsewhere, and which could assist the process of healing society in Northern Ireland.  Our intention is not to arrive at a narrow and prescriptive set of recommendations.  Rather, by illuminating approaches which have had success elsewhere, we hope to make a positive contribution to the desire of the overwhelming majority of the people of Northern Ireland to seek ways of easing the hurt of the last 30 years." 

The Committee wishes to invite any individual or organisation with an interest in this matter to submit written evidence.  This should be addressed to the Clerk of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, 7 Millbank, House of Commons, London SW1P 3JA and should arrive as soon as possible and in any case no later than 10.00 am on Friday, 3 December 2004.

Individuals or organisations are requested to submit memoranda (guideline length up to six A4 pages) in a Word file on computer disk or by e-mail to with a single additional hard copy in the post; those without access to a computer are respectfully requested to take particular care that submissions are legible. Memoranda submitted to the Committee should be kept confidential until published by the Committee.