Letter: Unheard voice of the Northern Ireland peace process

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The Independent Online
Sir: Can I please remind Jane Winter and the other signatories of the letter (5 September) about rights for Northern Irish prisoners that, however small the flame of peace, darkness is thereby dispelled and that the real danger lies in the shadows cast by her glimmering candle.

While I applaud her concern for the rights of prisoners here on the mainland and elsewhere, might I respectfully remind her that at least those prisoners can still communicate with their relatives - while I and more than 3,000 others cannot. She pleads the cause of the victims of the policy of denying prisoners the right to serve their sentence in jails nearer their home.

Perhaps she can take advice from the lawyers who signed the letter as to how I can seek redress against those who carry out unlawful murder in the name of the IRA, that self-same policy which in 1990 blew my son off the face of the earth and, in doing so, denied me the continuing good company of my son and the loss of any grandchildren he and his fiancee may have had.

I have accepted my loss, as have all of my family - nor do I bleat about it or beat my chest at the injustice of it all, at least not until I hear bleating on behalf of those who have denied me my rights.

I hope for all our sakes that the candle Ms Winter offers us is carried down a draught-free road - one that leads to peace.

Yours faithfully,

BRIAN BETHELL

Runcorn, Cheshire

5 September

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