President of Ireland - Uachtarán na hÉireann 1997-2011
Professor of Children, Law & Religion
The burden of grief and loss provoked by the miserable decades of the Northern Ireland Troubles is carried by many people and in the many parts of the world to which we scattered. Many suffer in silence, lives twisted out of shape by unresolved hurt. Some carry hearts grown cold and cynical. Yet most yearn for some kind of vindication, for the peace of mind that comes from having their experience listened to, respectfully, safely and to a purpose that promises a much, much better future. Michael O’Hare has never been afraid to venture into that difficult complex territory of anger, frustration, resentment, hatred, brokenness and sadness that all sides have their own share of. Michael knows it first hand from the day his little sister Majella was murdered by a British soldier on her way to Church. Yet he has distilled every fibre of his being into creating this unique and much-needed forum focused on the hope and reconciliation that is essential if we are to move forward humanly, together as trusting partners in life beyond conflict and division. TTT is a space where awful inhuman things can be told of, their impact shared and explored, their legacy of injustice and estrangement set before us with a gentle but formidably effective authority. What emerges is the authentic, humbling voice of truths that are capable of healing and building bridges of mutual compassion on which good neighbours thrive. I am very proud of my former pupil and his relentless, enduring pursuit of reconciliation through telling and listening and embracing.
Human Rights Lawyer, Phoenix Law
Troubles, Tragedy, Trauma is a ground breaking concept. Michael and his expert team have skilfully brought focus to a project that has at its heart the ultimate aim of understanding, educating, and most importantly, advocating reconciliation. As it has been eloquently put before, true reconciliation exposes the awfulness, the abuse, the hurt, and the truth. Crucially TTT seek to educate and develop understanding through the prism of discussion. Given the continuing political stalemate in dealing with the past, the concept of TTT as pioneered by Michael, is more important than ever for victims and families of those bereaved in dealing with the past.
We tend to forget that there are many people who were traumatised by violence and sectarianism in or related to the long years of conflict in the North of Ireland, who live elsewhere. That includes, of course, England, Scotland and Wales. These people often judge it best to maintain a deep silence about their experiences. This new initiative will offer them a chance to talk, if they want to, or simply to feel acknowledged, and to know that there are others who understand and care. By organising public events like conferences, TTT will raise public awareness and promote the reconciliation we all need.
Michael O’Hare’s work through the Troubles, Tragedy and Trauma project has been invaluable in promoting reconciliation and helping us to understand the past. It is vitally important to give victims and families the ability to tell their own stories, for their voices to be heard and for them to be at the centre of efforts to address the legacy of the Troubles. Michael’s dignity and determination is a remarkable example of someone who has suffered as a result of the conflict in Northern Ireland but who is committed to working to build a better, peaceful future for everyone.
Dr. Tom Clonan
Security Analyst & Columnist
Troubles, Tragedy, Trauma is an invaluable initiative. Over 3,700 lives were lost in the Troubles. Countless thousands more continue to suffer from life-changing injuries and life-changing grief and trauma. In the current post-Brexit world, our public discourse and political rhetoric have become dangerously polarised and polarising. For our fragile peace to survive, now is the time for talk, dialogue, understanding and healing.
Michael O’Hare and his team are people of the utmost integrity whose initiative is designed to bring about reconciliation, healing and an end to the suffering caused by alienation, political division and fear. I am proud to be associated with Troubles, Tragedy, Trauma. It is an eloquent tribute to Michael’s beautiful sister, Majella, who at age 12 was shot dead by the British Army. Let this initiative ensure that no other family will lose a child, sister, brother or loved one to political violence.
Author & Journalist
TTT has already established itself in its short existence as a pioneering campaigner for reconciliation.
The quality and the input of the individuals willing to be identified with TTT reflect the respect obtaining for those promoting the goals and aims of this body.
I have every intention of lending my ongoing support to TTT.
Baroness Margaret Ritchie
The Troubles, Tragedy and Legacy Project has my full and unequivocal support as it strives to achieve peace and reconciliation in the divided society of Northern Ireland.
Over a long period of time Of the Troubles and conflict on the island of Ireland, sadly many people lost their lives; others were maimed and many families, relatives and friends were left to pick up the pieces and deal with the consequences of losing their loved ones in very abrupt and untimely circumstances.
I support this project conceived by Michael O’Hare and involving Dr Ivan Gibbons which commenced in 2015 with a series of annual Conferences highlighting peace and reconciliation issues relating to Northern Ireland pinpointing the futility of division and violence. Above all these Conferences and the work of this project is underpinning the need to work together for all to create a better understanding between our divided peoples, promote respect for political difference and tolerance, and show the importance that working together across the island of Ireland can bring about improvement in the lives of all our population and and hopefully an end to age old enimities.
I have known Michael O'Hare for a long time and have witnessed his true passion for peace and reconciliation strengthen throughout the years. I was honoured to be invited to take part in a Troubles, Tragedy and Trauma (TTT) event and will continue to offer my support to TTT on their mission to heal the wounds of the past and journey towards a brighter future.
Sadly our dear friend and mentor Seamus Mallon died on 24th January 2020.
Rest in Peace Seamus.
Manager - The Turas, Irish Language Project
I give my full support to Michael O'Hare and the Troubles, Tragedy & Trauma project. Despite the terrible event that befell Michael's own family, he has used that experience not to further division and hatred but to ensure that others do not suffer the same fate.
This is a very worthy project which should be supported by all.
MC MLA UUP
If there is one thing we have learned from the ‘Troubles’ is that grief, pain and loss is universal and only reconciliation can heal these wounds. Troubles, Tragedy, Trauma explores reconciliation by allowing victims and survivors to tell their story and Michael O’Hara leads that outflow of testimonies as he talks about the loss of his dear sister Majella who was shot by the British Military at the age of just 12.
Now more than ever TTT has the opportunity to bring together people and communities who have been affected by the ‘Troubles’. They will promote the voice of those who have been forgotten but who have carried themselves with grace and dignity. They will ask what some may see as difficult questions, create discussions that might expose hurt or hidden hatred, but in doing so T3 will promote peace, foster reconciliation and help heal the wounds of our past.