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Statement by President Higgins on the Annual Day of Reflection on the Troubles

Date: Tue 21st Jun, 2022 | 19:00

“Each year on the 21st June, the longest day of the year, we mark the Annual Day of Reflection on the Troubles and the horrific legacy left by those years of violence on this island, including the thousands of people who lost their lives and the many many more lives damaged in so many profound ways.

This year, 50 years on, we of course particularly remember the events of 1972, in many ways the longest year of the Troubles, and the appalling death toll of 479 lives lost that year. Earlier this year we marked the particular depravities of Bloody Sunday and of the Abercorn bombing, while next month we will remember the 50th anniversary of Bloody Friday in Belfast. Today, we remember all of these events, and all of the deadly events of that year, as well as, importantly, the lives in all of their richness of all those who were taken from their families.

As difficult as these events are for us to recall, and particularly those who suffered loss or injury and their families, we must always refrain from any amnesia on these events. We must recall the lives of those lost, recognise the loss felt by their families, their friends, and their communities, and the right of all such concerned to have these memories of their losses acknowledged, recalled, and given appropriate commemoration.

I commend all of those from across their communities who have come together today to remember in their inclusive way all those who lost their lives in 1972, and across each of the too many decades over which the Troubles raged. It is only through this path of coming together in recognition and sharing of each other’s experiences and losses, and by recognising the different narratives that emerged in recall of those decades, that we can best find an inclusive path to healing and ethical remembrance. 

I send my thoughts of respect and solidarity to all those who are struggling with the memories of all that they suffered over those years, and wish them the deepest strength, as they go forward together in building a better future.”