Joint letter to organisers of Action Trauma Conference in Belfast, June 2024

03 June 2024

We are writing to you as representatives of organisations supporting victims and survivors of the recent conflict.

It has come to our attention that your conference intends to platform Ms Lesley Carroll from the

ICRIR on the theme of trauma and resilience approaches of the Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery, and the ICRIR's development of a bespoke trauma service.

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We are shocked, and wish to express our dismay, that your organisers have considered this appropriate given the deeply contested nature of the ICRIR and the legislation that underpins it.

You are, we are sure, aware of the interstate case being taken by the Irish government to the European Court of Human Rights on the Legacy Act. This case highlights how the legislation has undermined the Good Friday Agreement, is in contravention of the European Convention on Human Rights and has caused immeasurable damage to victims and survivors. You will also be aware of the significant case being taken by families themselves, who represent a broad section of Victims/Survivors of the conflict,, clearly reflecting the trauma and harm being created by this legislation.

Political parties and victims' groups on this island are united in opposition to this legislation and the institutions it has created. At the heart of that opposition is the sure and certain knowledge that it is not trauma informed, not human rights compliant, and will cause harm to multiple generations of the bereaved and seriously injured of the conflict.

To platform this organisation, at this time, will be viewed by many Victims/Survivors as an endorsement of it. It is a crass move attempting to legitimise the illegitimate. It appears that none of these voices opposed to the ICRIR have been similarly given such a platform and the opportunity to explain why engaging with this body could add to trauma. Consultation with any practitioners supporting victims and survivors of the conflict would have alerted you to the total lack of support for this body, and the inappropriateness of platforming them, most especially at a conference about trauma. As it stands it appears to be an attempt by the ICRIR to give credibility to its organisation, when it has none. If you intend to go ahead despite the unified reservations of the majority of stakeholders the very least that could be expected would be an equal time slot for these opposed to the ICRIR and the Legacy Act.

We would collectively be grateful for a response to this letter with clarification on the process for determining speakers, whether the ICRIR was approached by your organisation or if indeed the ICRIR approached you, and how you intend to mitigate the evident harm your conference will now be implicated in creating.


Sara Duddy, Advocacy Support Worker, Pat Finucane Centre

Margaret Urwin, Coordinator, Justice for the Forgotten

Maeve McLaughlin, Director, Bloody Sunday Trust

Andrée Murphy, Deputy Director, Relative for Justice

Cathy Nelis, Coordinator, Cúnamh

Irene Sherry, Head of Heath & Well-Being, Bridge of Hope


Responses may be sent c/o