Recovery of Living Memory Archive (ROLMA) January 2012 - June 2014
The Recovery of Living Memory Archive (ROLMA) is a new project of the PFC and follows on from the Legacy Project. ROLMA, which began in January 2012, is funded through the EU Peace III programme managed for the Special EU Programmes body by the CRC/ POBAL Consortium. Theme 1.2: Acknowledging and Dealing with the Past until June 30 2014.
It will develop in three phases:
In Phase I the PFC will provide an advocacy, advice and support service to families, bereaved and/ or injured as a result of the conflict, who wish to engage with statutory agencies to establish the facts surrounding the death/s of their loved one/s or injuries sustained. In both jurisdictions Phase I will result in the production of a factual document outlining, from an investigative perspective, the circumstances surrounding the death. In the North this will usually take the form of a report from the Historic Enquires Team (HET) and/ or the Office of the Police Ombudsman (PONI). In the Republic this will involve a compilation of the information contained in the reports of the non-statutory inquiries and information that may be provided by the Gardai. While the HET has been established since 2005 it is very clear that there is an ongoing need for advocacy and support for families engaging in this process. The need arises in part from the lack of confidence and trust which are often a legacy of the incident. In our experience many of the participants have had very negative experiences of the statutory agencies and are wary of engaging and need an advocacy and support service to achieve a positive outcome. Part of the role of PFC and JFF is to meet this need.
Phase II will aim to record the impact of the loss and suffering on victims’ families and on survivors and provide biographical background on the deceased and injured - the human side of the story that is missing from official accounts. This storytelling aspect has been piloted within the Legacy Project. The need for this is very clearly apparent on both sides of the border. It has become very clear to both JFF and PFC that the forensic detail of an official report does not meet the needs of families to document the emotional, psychological and financial impact. This is crucial for addressing the need to bring about closure and so that a negative legacy of the past is not passed to the next generation.
Phase III will combine the factual/ investigative information with the storytelling/ biographical aspect resulting in a final document that will be compiled in collaboration with families. This unique record will be archived at the Linenhall Library in Belfast and at the National Library in Dublin. Some documents will not be publicly available for some years if the family so decides. Taken together these three phases will promote reconciliation as they provide the opportunity for people to recover the truth, to record and express their own truth about their experience and ensure that there is a permanent tangible legacy for their own families and for the greater community.
The Recovery of Living Memory Archive (ROLMA) is committed to the following objectives:
1) To ensure that victims’ families and survivors receive the maximum permissible disclosure of information regarding the death/s of their relative/s from those statutory agencies tasked with investigating historic conflict related fatalities on both sides of the border and where appropriate information about incidents where survivors were injured.
2) To ensure that the human impact of the bereavement and the biographical background of the victim is recorded.
3) To narrow the list of questions passed from generation to generation following a violent death and thereby lessen the impact of trans-generational trauma.
4) To collaborate with families in the production of an all-encompassing document that will record for posterity the factual background to the incident, the subsequent impact on survivors but also the positive biographical story of someone’s life.
5) To make the final reports publicly accessible to ensure that the extended family, historians and future generations have access to unique and accurate documentation concerning the individuals who lost their lives due to the conflict.
6) To provide a template on how to bridge the gap between storytelling and truth recovery. An innovative feature of this project is that it merges the factual/ investigative process with the storytelling/ biographical aspect. It is hoped that this will provide valuable learning on how to deal with the legacy of the conflict in a more holistic way.
7) To lessen the impact of the marginalization experienced by victims/ survivors in the Republic who have been excluded to date from the development of policy and practice in respect of victims issues.
8) Provide skills sharing workshops for other support organisations in order to build capacity throughout the sector in advocacy and advice skills and in providing information about how truth recovery and acknowledgment can be maximized through engagement with statutory bodies. In particular PFC will provide skills sharing with those groups more likely to gain the confidence of those in Protestant/ unionist/ loyalist community who wish to engage with statutory bodies.
9) Develop informal support networks among families bereaved by the conflict and, where appropriate signpost people to appropriate support services, including counselling and victims' support services. Such networks are presently lacking in the cross border area.
10) Creating a model for addressing the impact of conflict and providing information on interventions addressing the legacy of conflict or "past" for use by the wider community, locally and internationally.
For further background see www.seupb.eu