Conflict poses considerable challenges for services that support communities, and in particular those affected by violence. This book describes the work undertaken in Omagh against the background of the most recent period of violent conflict in Ireland, and specifically it draws upon the work following the Omagh bombing. The bombing came just four months after the Northern Ireland peace agreement, known formally as the Belfast Agreement of 1998, and more informally as the Good Friday Agreement. The book describes the impact of the bomb and the early responses. Local trade unions, employers and the business community played key roles at times, particularly in underlining the need for solidarity and in identifying themselves with the desire for peace. The book looks at the outcome of needs-assessments undertaken following the Omagh bombing. The efforts to understand the mental health and related impact of the violence associated with the Troubles in Northern Ireland over the period 1969 to 2015 are focused in detail. The later efforts to build services for the benefit of the wider population are described, drawing upon the lessons gained in responding to the Omagh bombing. The developments in therapy, in training and education, and in research and advocacy are described with reference to the work of the Northern Ireland Centre for Trauma and Transformation (NICTT). The book draws together key conclusions about the approaches that could be taken to address mental health and well-being as an essential component of a peace-building project.
The central message of this book, therefore, is that
addressing the mental health and wider needs arising from loss and
trauma must be incorporated as early as possible into the peace-making
and peace-buildingproject. In contemporary warfare and conflict the
dead and surviving victims are increasingly civilians who had not been
protagonists. They bear the greatest heat of the day, and their needs
and controversy. A debate on other truth recovery processes and mechanisms
is continuing to impact on the broader society and on the peace-buildingproject more generally, with the Eames/Bradley process its most recent official incarnation.
19th Report of The Oversight Commissioner, 31 May 2007, available at
See M. O’Rawe, ‘Human rights and police training in transitional societies:
exporting the lessons from Northern Ireland’, Human Rights Quarterly 27:3
(2005), pp. 943–68.
As succinctly stated on a banner on the road into
unless a huge amount of funding was sought, it was
quite simply not worth applying due to the arduous reporting
requirements. Evidence from NICVA suggested that ‘many
community-based peace-buildingprojects did not apply …
because of the [administrative] difficulties involved … The
level of concern about these issues in the voluntary and community
sector should not be