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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 July, 2005, 05:56 GMT 06:56 UK
Report finds truth body 'support'
A truth commission on NI's Troubles has support, a report says
A Troubles truth commission has support among nationalists and unionists, new University of Ulster research suggests.

Dr Patricia Lundy, who carried out the research, said 30 truth commissions have been held across the world.

"Their popularity is based on the claim they can promote healing, closure and reconciliation and can redress the wrongs of the past," she said.

The research, part of the NI Life and Times Survey, saw 1,800 people surveyed between October 2004 and January 2005.

The research was carried out with Dr Mark McGovern of Edge Hill College, and they said support for a truth commission to delve into Northern Ireland's years of conflict was strongest among young people.

However, the vast majority of respondents of all ages - 85% - accepted that such a commission might not necessarily uncover the truth.


Both communities felt a truth commission should be set up and run by an international organisation like the United Nations.

The report said all the major 'actors' in the conflict and subsequent peace process - the British and Irish Governments, the Northern Ireland Assembly, republican and loyalist groups - were viewed with deep suspicion by virtually everyone surveyed.

The report found 52% of respondents felt a truth commission was important for the future and that 60% of Catholics supported a truth commission, with 21% expressing disapproval.

Some 44% of Protestants expressed broad approval with 34% being against the process, while 69% of 18-24 year-olds thought a truth commission was important.

Of those surveyed 76% said ordinary people should decide who runs a commission and 82% felt a truth commission should be held in public.


But the survey also found that 65% of people thought there were better ways of dealing with the past.

The authors said there "appears to be broad, if cautious, approval that a truth commission would be a good idea, even if people are not sure it will deliver the truth".

"There is clear opposition to any of the major political actors involved in the conflict overseeing such a process," they said.

"It is difficult not to draw the conclusion that, if people do not think a truth commission will get to the truth, then it is because they lack confidence in the governments, parties, groups and bodies most likely to be involved in the running of a truth commission to do so."

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