One thing leads to...

Last week I was reminded of the expression "Live by the sword, die by the sword". The incomplete reports then by the media of another tragic death left me thinking how easy it would be for the media to hinder any form of reconciliation in Northern Ireland. Last week one of the main stories was the death of a veteran Republican, no doubt a war hero to some. The media seemed to highlight, in connection with his death, the anti social behaviour of a small minority of young people in West Belfast and the PSNI not doing their best to tackle this. They could've taken a look at the bigger picture. His death obviously had an impact on his family, friends and community. I wondered who else his death affected.

Nearly a week later I find out.
The daughter of a man killed in an IRA bomb attack by Frank 'Bap' McGreevy, who died after being savagely beaten just over a week ago, says she forgave the bomber and feels pity for his family. Jean Morrison, whose father John Smiley, 55, died in the blast at the Klondyke Bar on Sandy Row in south Belfast in January 1976, said that despite forgiving her father's killers, she wanted the victims of the numerous tragedies of the Troubles to be remembered.

Mrs Morrison, who still lives in Sandy Row, told a Sunday newspaper that she held no hatred or spite against her father's killer, but felt that he and others had been forgotten.

"That man suffered a bad death, but so did my daddy."

She said she felt for the McGreevy family. It was the people left behind who had to carry on, she said, and her family was still dealing with the grief over her father's murder.

"It is the people who are left behind who have to carry the burden, and we are still carrying that burden of tragedy and sorrow and grief."

The story doesn't end there. After the attack on the Klondyke Bar.

A barmaid lost an eye and several people lost limbs after the bomb was left at the door.

In a retaliatory attack a Catholic woman was battered with a brick. The perpetrator, a friend of Mr Smiley, carried out the assault after he heard of his death. He was sentenced to 12 years in jail for grievous bodily harm.

We may never know how the barmaid and the Catholic woman managed after that. How their experiences affected someone else who may also have retaliated. The death of a man in 2008 connected with death and injury back in 1976 is hard to comprehend. Reactions to reports of the death of Frank 'Bap' McGreevy, I'm sure could be still as raw as reactions to the news back in 1976 that loved ones had been killed or injured. How stories today are reported will affect the future.

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