Apologies, Abuses and Dealing with the Past: A Socio-Legal Analysis

Lead Research Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast
Department Name: Sch of Law

Abstract

CONTEXT

This project will examine the relationship between apologies, abuses and dealing with the past. Using the island of Ireland as a case-study, the project will explore a range of wider themes concerning the ways in which apologies have been constructed, delivered and received beyond the state. It will focus on apologies for harms inflicted by paramilitaries, churches and the corporate sector. In addition, international and comparative research will be conducted by a PhD student (funded by QUB) to explore the resonance of these themes in other contexts.

At a conceptual level, the notion of apology is diversely theorised and almost always focused on the state. Despite widespread acceptance that apologies are key to dealing with past wrongs, in practice the theoretical literature is rarely informed by detailed empirical assessment of the views of apologisers, victims or the general public.

States, armed groups, churches and large corporations have in recent decades apologised for past wrongs, albeit with mixed results. For victims, apologies often appear to be an important element of dealing with the past. However, in practice the precise interplay between apology and notions such as accountability, reconciliation, truth and legitimacy is little understood. More generally, while 'saying sorry' is almost a given as an acknowledgement of hurt, there have been few efforts to develop a nuanced grasp of what constitutes a legitimate apology and how the drafting, performance and reception of such apologies may or may not assist in coming to terms with past wrongs. Through exploring the perspectives of perpetrators, victims and community, this project seeks to provide a comprehensive and rigorous analysis of the role of apologies in dealing with the past.

AIM

Using Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as a case-study, this project will explore the role of apologies in dealing with past harms linked to paramilitary violence, institutional child abuse and the economic crisis. A QUB-funded PhD student will explore the resonance of these themes in select international contexts.

OBJECTIVES

1. To explore a range of themes concerning the construction, delivery and reception of apologies in dealing with the past including: apologies and law; apologies and accountability; apologies, acknowledgement and truth; apologies timing, choreography and performance; apologies, legitimacy and audience; apologies and leadership; apologies, reconciliation and follow through; apologies and imagined communities.

2. To deploy a research methodology involving an extensive analysis of academic and policy literature and archival research; semi-structured interviews with 'perpetrators', victims and key policy makers and opinion formers; focus groups with victims; and a CAPI survey (and focus groups) with members of the general public.

3. To disseminate the findings and academic and policy outputs through a project website, twitter, blogs, stakeholder seminars, a major international conference and presentations at a range of international and national conferences. Publications will include one monograph, at least four articles/book chapters, six policy documents and 12 blogs.

POTENTIAL APPLICATIONS AND BENEFITS

The project is designed to develop a deeper understanding of the role of apologies in dealing with the past. Previous research on apologies has often been confined to disciplinary silos. Premised on the understanding that apologies are usually shaped by legal implications, this project will seek to develop a bridge-head between law and other fields including politics, philosophy, anthropology, history, sociology and psychology. While drawn from the experience of Ireland, a more holistic understanding of the role of apologies will be of interest to academics, policy makers and activists in any society struggling to come to terms with the harms of the past.

Planned Impact

Since the research will focus on apologies linked to a range of different types of past wrongs (paramilitary violence; institutional child abuse; and the economic crisis) this project will have multiple beneficiaries. The nature of the impact for each will be different. In the short term, beneficiaries can broadly be divided into 'apologisers' (those who have historically constructed and delivered apologies or who are currently doing so); primary, secondary and tertiary 'victims' (direct victims, their families, as well as the wider public) in Ireland, North and South. In the medium to longer-term, via presentations at international conferences and dissemination of policy and academic outputs, the findings will resonate at national (both jurisdictions) and international levels. They will inform political leaders, policy makers, victims and victims' groups, and a range of international stakeholders who are grappling with related challenges.

The timing for work on apologies in Ireland could not be more apposite. Both the British and Irish governments are slated to introduce dealing with the past legislation in autumn 2015 and thereafter to make statements of acknowledgement regarding their respective roles in the conflict. Similar actions will be expected from paramilitaries and others. There are ongoing public inquiries North and South into child abuse by religious authorities (due to report in 2017 and 2018 respectively). A Parliamentary Inquiry into the banking crisis in Ireland is in progress and has already provoked a debate about the efficacy of apologies from politicians, policy makers and corporate officials.

As is detailed in the CVs and Pathways to Impact, McEvoy, Bryson, McAlinden and MacCarthaigh have strong pre-existing relationships with victim organisations across the sectors. We will consult with such groups on their needs regarding apologies before finalising the 6 policy outputs and 12 blogs. Anticipated themes could include: user-friendly advice on the legal consequences of apologies; the management of expectations; and whether, when and how to engage with 'perpetrator' organisations. The project will also hold a series of seminars at the beginning, mid-point and end of the project (rotating between the two jurisdictions). Working through and with representative bodies, we anticipate an immediate impact for victims, both nationally and internationally.

With regard to apologising organisations, again the team has strong links. Potential impact relates to enhancing the knowledge, skills and capacity necessary to deliver a genuine or 'meaningful' apology. For example, as discussed in the Case for Support, one specific planned output is a universal template on how to construct a 'legitimate' apology encompassing drafting, engaging with victims, timing, delivery, choreography, legal ramifications, etc. Impact will be achieved through the policy outputs, blogs, project website, twitter and final conference.

More broadly, asking fundamental questions (such as whether 'saying sorry' is ever enough), raises 'big' societal issues about apologies and how they relate to healing, remorse, memorialisation and reconciliation. Public engagement on these and other issues will be facilitated by the survey and focus groups with the general public, the project website, planned blogs (12) and the project twitter account. The website will include short video clips relaying the key findings and relevance of the research as well as anonymised excerpts from interviews and focus groups (pending permission). QUB press office will help promote the project throughout.

The research findings have the potential to inform national and international policy-making. Political leaders, policy makers, academics, local NGOs and research participants will be invited to the project conference. The policy papers, blogs and academic outputs will be widely disseminated.
 
Description Dealing with the Past in Northern Ireland This project was partly inspired by a commitment in the Stormont House Agreement (signed by the British and Irish governments and the five main political parties in Northern Ireland in Dec 2014) to implement a range of mechanisms to deal with the legacy of the past. It included a commitment on the part of the two governments to consider the issue of apologies and statements of acknowledgment. Two members of the 'Apologies, Abuses and Dealing with the Past' team have been directly involved in efforts to inform the outworking of that Agreement, including with reference to the issues of apologies. As part of this advocacy work they have been involved in producing numerous open access policy reports, legal advice, problem solving models to resolve political stand-offs, a draft legislative bill, submissions to parliamentary select committees and a very detailed response to a government bill. These documents have directly influenced the policy positions of the British and Irish government, key local political parties, civil society groups and victims' groups during an extensive period of political negotiation and public consultation on the past. Moreover, the British government's draft legislation to implement the Stormont House Agreement (released in May 2018) draws directly from the Model Bill produced by McEvoy et al. The combined significance of the team's research has been its impact upon the policy, practice and understanding of legal issues related to the past conflict in Northern Ireland including the complex issue of public apologies. Its reach has included civil society, legal and policy actors, politicians, the British and Irish governments and international interlocutors. Engagement with Senior Members of Judiciary in Colombia Following Professor Kieran McEvoy's invited plenary talk at the Presidential Commission for the Establishment and Consolidation of Peace conference in Bogota, Colombia, in June 2019, a team of senior Colombian judges have arranged to come to Belfast to learn more about the implementation of transitional justice measures here, including the development of sincere and effective apologies. The judges are members of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) - the Colombian transitional justice mechanism designed to investigate, prosecute and punish those responsible for the most serious human rights violations committed during the armed conflict in Colombia. Apologies in Transitional Justice: Report for 74th Session of UN General Assembly In 2019 Professor Kieran McEvoy and Dr Anna Bryson were invited by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence (Fabián Salvioli) to prepare a report on apologies for gross human rights violations and serious violations of international humanitarian law. They designed a questionnaire on public apologies that was circulated to all UN member states. This information was integrated with the findings of the Apologies, Abuses and Dealing with the Past project to produce an analysis of the legal and conceptual framework for crafting an apology, reflections on existing best practice and lessons learned on the issue, as well as recommendations for the design and implementation of future apologies. This report was presented at the 74th session of UN General Assembly in Oct 2019. The report was extremely well received by UN Ambassadors. A selection of the points highlighted at Assembly is set out below: Colombia - appreciated the importance of ensuring dialogue with victims and also the need to ensure positive media enagement. They also welcomed the advice regarding the participation of community and human rights organisations. Argentina - welcomed the opportunity to reflect on the 'right to truth' and on the most effective measures for breaking down barriers to participation of women in an apology process. Ireland - commended the report and noted the helpful examples of both good practice and potential pitfalls. USA - noted that victims needs are indeed paramount and that it is imperative to ensure that reparations programmes are comprehensive. EU - welcomed what they described as a 'thorough and well structured report' - noted in particular the importance of adopting a gender sensitive approach, the need to understand the motivation for an apology and to take steps to ensure effective 'follow-through'. Switzerland - noted that apologies can be a powerful tool for transitional justice and wanted to learn more about how best to consult effectively with relevant constituencies. Belgium - learned about the importance of 'follow through' as well as the significance of reputation as a variable influencing apologies. Morocco - noted that the report is very relevant to their country. They were particularly interested in the issue of timing and the ways in which the apology process can be harmonised with other transitional justice approaches. China - noted that they learned that public apologies can be an important complement to reparations programmes.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description Invited to prepare report on Apologies for UN General Assembly
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
Impact In 2019, Professor Kieran McEvoy and Dr Anna Bryson were invited by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence (Fabián Salvioli) to prepare a report on apologies for gross human rights violations and serious violations of international humanitarian law. They designed a questionnaire on public apologies that was circulated to all UN member states. This information was integrated with the findings of the Apologies, Abuses and Dealing with the Past project to produce an analysis of the legal and conceptual framework for crafting an apology, reflections on existing best practice and lessons learned on the issue, as well as recommendations for the design and implementation of future apologies. This report was presented at the 74th session of UN General Assembly in Oct 2019. The report was extremely well received by UN Ambassadors. A selection of the points highlighted at Assembly is set out below: Colombia - appreciated the importance of ensuring dialogue with victims and also the need to ensure positive media enagement. They also welcomed the advice regarding the participation of community and human rights organisations. Argentina - welcomed the opportunity to reflect on the 'right to truth' and on the most effective measures for breaking down barriers to participation of women in an apology process. Ireland - commended the report and noted the helpful examples of both good practice and potential pitfalls. USA - noted that victims needs are indeed paramount and that it is imperative to ensure that reparations programmes are comprehensive. EU - welcomed what they described as a 'thorough and well structured report' - noted in particular the importance of adopting a gender sensitive approach, the need to understand the motivation for an apology and to take steps to ensure effective 'follow-through'. Switzerland - noted that apologies can be a powerful tool for transitional justice and wanted to learn more about how best to consult effectively with relevant constituencies. Belgium - learned about the importance of 'follow through' as well as the significance of reputation as a variable influencing apologies. Morocco - noted that the report is very relevant to their country. They were particularly interested in the issue of timing and the ways in which the apology process can be harmonised with other transitional justice approaches. China - noted that they learned that public apologies can be an important complement to reparations programmes.
 
Description Anna Bryson and Muiris MacCarthaigh: 'Accountability and Blame Acceptance in Ireland: The Role of Public Apologies' Annual conference of the Political Studies Association of Ireland (PSAI) Maynooth University 19 October 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Dr Anna Bryson and Dr Muiris MacCarthaigh presented a paper at the Political Studies Association of Ireland (PSAI) at Maynooth University on 19 October 2019. This paper was presented to an audience of approximately 35 attendees and the presentation was followed by a question and answer session which prompted a discussion amongst conference delegates.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://psai2019.wordpress.com/
 
Description Anna Bryson and Muiris MacCarthaigh: 'Public Apologies, Accountability and Blame-acceptance' 115th American Political Science Association's Annual Meeting & Exhibition, August 29 - September 1, 2019 Washington, DC, 'Populism and Privilege' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Dr Anna Bryson and Dr Muiris MacCarthaigh presented their paper 'Public Apologies, Accountability and Blame-acceptance' at the 115th American Political Science Association's Annual Meeting & Exhibition 'Populism and Privilege' (August 29 - September 1, 2019 Washington, DC). The paper was presented under the panel theme of 'Campaigns and Crises in Ireland' on 31 August 2019. The event was chaired by Professor Gail Mc Elroy from Trinity College Dublin. The panel scrutinised political crises in Ireland including the recession and Brexit; and the paper examined public apologies in the context of the banking crisis in Ireland. Following the presentations, the panel included a question and answer session allowing the audience to engage with the presenters and their respective research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://convention2.allacademic.com/one/apsa/apsa19/index.php?cmd=Online+Program+View+Session&select...
 
Description Anne-Marie McAlinden, 'The Role of Emotion, Remorse and Redemption in Addressing Historical Institutional Abuse by the Catholic Church in Ireland' Paper presented at the panel, 'Memories of Violence: Place, Time, Institution', 8th Annual Conference of the Historical Dialogues, Justice and Memory Network, Columbia University, New York, 12-14 December 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Anne-Marie McAlinden, 'The Role of Emotion, Remorse and Redemption in Addressing Historical Institutional Abuse by the Catholic Church in Ireland'
Paper presented at the panel, 'Memories of Violence: Place, Time, Institution', 8th Annual Conference of the Historical Dialogues, Justice and Memory Network, Columbia University, New York, 12-14 December 2019.

Paper presented at an international conference with an audience of approximately 30 people comprised of local, national and international academics. The presentation of the paper was followed by a question and answer session and lively panel discussion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://historicaldialogues.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Final-Conference-Program-December-1-2.pdf
 
Description Blog post for SLSA website (L Dempster) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Dr Lauren Dempster authored a blog post for the Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA) blog. The SLSA blog is contributed to and followed by socio-legal scholars. Lauren's blog developed the ideas from her presentation given at the annual SLSA conference, and is entitled, 'Apology, the IRA, and the 'Disappeared.'
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://slsablog.co.uk/blog/blog-posts/apology-the-ira-and-the-disappeared/
 
Description Conference presentation (Anna Bryson, ESC, Cardiff) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Dr Anna Bryson presented a paper to an audience of approximately 25 people at the European Society of Criminology conference in Cardiff, UK, in September 2017. The purpose of this activity was to disseminate project findings and gather feedback from conference participants.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Conference presentation (Anna Bryson, LSA) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Dr Anna Bryson presented a paper entitled, 'Apologies, Acknowledgement and Symbolic Reparations in Transitional Justice,' at the Law and Society Association's annual conference in Toronto in June 2018. The presentation was attended by approximately 35 people, a mix of academics, postgraduate students and legal practitioners. The presentation was well-received, prompting a number of questions from the floor.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Conference presentation (Anna Bryson, SLSA, Bristol) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Dr Anna Bryson presented on 'Hearing, Seeing, Believing: Public Perceptions of Apologies for Past Harms in Ireland,' at the Social and Legal Studies Association conference in Bristol in March 2018. This presentation drew in particular on data collected during general population focus groups completed for the Apologies, Abuses, and Dealing with the Past project, and disseminated some early findings from these focus groups to an audience comprising of postgraduate students and academics from the UK and beyond. Anna's presentation sparked a number of questions and comments from the floor, and provided the basis for a reflective discussion of the project's emerging findings.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Conference presentation (Anna Bryson, SLSA, Newcastle) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Dr Anna Bryson presented a paper at the Social and Legal Studies Association conference in Newcastle, UK to an audience of approximately 30 people. The paper was presented to disseminate project progress and findings, and to gather feedback on how the project might be improved or developed as it progresses.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Conference presentation (Anne-Marie McAlinden, Columbia University) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Anne-Marie McAlinden presented paper on 'Apologies and Victims of Institutional Child Abuse', at the 'Present Past: Time, Memory & The Negotiation of Historical Justice', 6th Annual Conference of the Dialogues on Historical Justice and Memory Network', Columbia University, New York, 7-9 Dec 2017. The paper sparked a number of questions from the audience. The purpose of this presentation was to disseminate project findings.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Conference presentation (Anne-Marie McAlinden, Georgetown University) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Prof Anne-Marie McAlinden presented a paper entitled, ''Apologies in the Aftermath of Historical Child Abuse in Ireland' at Georgetown University, Washington DC, as part of their conference on 'Legacies of the Past: Apologies & Memorialisation.' The presentation was well-attended and prompted an interesting and useful discussion with the audience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Conference presentation (Anne-Marie McAlinden, SLSA, Bristol) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Prof Anne-Marie McAlinden presented on 'Apologies and Institutional Child Abuse in Ireland' at the Social and Legal Studies Association conference in Bristol in March 2018. This presentation disseminated some of the early findings from the Apologies, Abuses and Dealing with the Past project to an audience of about 15 people, comprising UK-based and international academics and postgraduate students. The presentation sparked questions from the floor, and useful discussion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Conference presentation (Kieran McEvoy, Columbia University) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Prof Kieran McEvoy presented a paper to approximately 30 conference attendees at the Historical Dialogues conference in New York, December 2017. This paper generated questions from conference participants and a useful discussion. The purpose of the activity was to disseminate research findings and gather feedback from conference participants as to how the project and project outputs might be developed or improved.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Conference presentation (Kieran McEvoy, ESC, Cardiff) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Professor Kieran McEvoy presented a paper at the European Society of Criminology Conference in Cardiff. The paper was presented to an audience of 25-30 people. This paper was presented in order to disseminate project findings and gather feedback from conference participants on how the research might be improved or enhanced.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Conference presentation (Kieran McEvoy, SLSA, Bristol) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Prof Kieran McEvoy presented a paper on 'Apologies, Acknowledgement and the National Imagination: Dealing with the Past in Ireland' at the Social and Legal Studies Association conference in Bristol in March 2018. The audience comprised approximately 15 academics and postgraduate students, and the presentation introduced some early findings from the Apologies, Abuses, and Dealing with the Past project, prompting questions and discussion points from the audience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Conference presentation (Kieran McEvoy, SLSA, Newcastle) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Kieran McEvoy presented a paper at the Social and Legal Studies Association Conference in Newcastle to approximately 30 attendees. The paper was presented to disseminate project progress and findings, and to gather feedback on how the project might be improved or developed as it progresses.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Conference presentation (Lauren Dempster, SLSA, Bristol) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Dr Lauren Dempster presented on 'Apology, Acknowledgement, and the 'Disappeared' of Northern Ireland to an audience of approximately 15 individuals at the Social and Legal Studies Association Conference in Bristol in March 2018. This presentation drew on literature gathered for the Apologies, Abuses and Dealing with the Past project, and introduced some preliminary findings from the general population focus groups. The presentation invited questions from UK-based and international academics and postgraduate students, and a useful discussion was had.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Conference presentation (Muiris MacCarthaigh, Lausanne) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Dr Muiris MacCarthaigh presented a paper entitled 'Organisational Accountability and Reputation: The Role of Blame Acceptance' at the European Group for Public Administration Annual Conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, in September 2018. The presentation was given to an engaged audience as part of a panel on governance in public sector organisations. A number of useful questions and comments were made, which Muiris will take into account as he develops further research outputs.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Expert evidence to Irish Parliament 'Legacy Issues and Victims/Survivors of Violence: Benchmarks for Legitimacy in the SHA Legislation. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Expert legal analysis on legacy issues related to pending legislation on dealing with the past. Presentation and report also referred to role of lawyers in same.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Feature Article in Belfast Telegraph 'Is the price of an amnesty for the security forces just too high to contemplate?' June 19th 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact This was a feature article on the legality of amnesties in dealing with the past and implications of same for the peace process
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Feature Article in the Guardian 'Investigations into the Troubles are vital - and that includes ex-soldiers.' 11th May 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact This was a feature article in the guardian newspaper addressing key issues related to dealing with the past in Northern Ireland concerning viability of an amnesty for soldiers and its relationship to truth recovery.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Feature article in Belfast Telegraph 'Stormont legacy issues impasse can be overcome with legal imagination.' 5th April 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact This was a feature article in the main Unionist paper in Northern Ireland proposed some legally imaginative solutions to the political impass on dealing with the past
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Feature newspaper article in the Irish Times The Legacy of the Troubles and the Law March 30th 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact This was a feature article in the Irish Times, the most respected broadsheet newspaper in Ireland on the role of lawyers and law in dealing with the past in Northern Ireland
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description First Stakeholder Seminar - Nov 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact This was the first in a series of stakeholder seminars associated with our project. Using Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as a case-study, the event explored the relationship between apologies, abuses and dealing with past harms across three separate and discrete sites of analysis (paramilitary violence, institutional child abuse and the economic crisis). In contrast to existing theoretical and state-centric research on apologies, this seminar focused on the views of apologisers, victims and the general public.
We began with an overview of our approach to this work and then explored in groups a range of text-based and audio-visual apologies. Anonymous feedback was facilitated by hand-held audience response devices. The first draft of our universal template for the construction of a 'legitimate' apology was then circulated and discussed.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Human Rights, Legacy and Cultures of Violence in Northern Ireland. Plenary address at Conference, Hebrew University Law School 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact This was an invited plenary address on the role of lawyers in engaging in research and activism on dealing with the past.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Interview with Barney Rowan for UTV 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interview on the role of apologies and other transitional justice mechanisms with regard to the legacy of the Northern Ireland conflict
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description K McEvoy 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact On 7 March 2017, Prof Kieran McEvoy gave oral evidence to the House of Commons Defence Select Committee's Investigation into Fatalities Involving British Military Personnel. His written report addresses the issue of the legality of a statute of limitations for armed forces who served in Northern Ireland.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/defence-committee/i...
 
Description KESS seminar presentation on Apologies and Dealing with the Past in Northern Ireland (Kieran McEvoy and Anna Bryson) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Prof Kieran McEvoy and Dr Anna Bryson presented on 'Apologies, Abuses and Dealing with the Past' at Stormont Assembly's Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series (KESS). This presentation focused on apologies in relation to the conflict in and about Northern Ireland. The seminar was well-attended by around 70 people, including politicians, policy makers, third sector organisations, professionals working in various areas of legacy issues in Northern Ireland, and civil servants. KESS is aimed at providing a platform for connecting academics with policy-makers and the team received valuable feedback from the audience, with a number of attendees requesting further information about the project. The KESS website hosts a video of the presentation, along with the presentation slides and a policy report written by Kieran and Anna in advance of the seminar. The video of the presentation has received over 50 views on YouTube, increasing the reach of this presentation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/assembly-business/research-and-information-service-raise/knowledge-exch...
 
Description Kieran McEvoy 'What is Transitional Justice' at Civil Unrest in Hong Kong Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Prof Kieran McEvoy gave a presentation entitled 'What is Transitional Justice' (which included a discussion on the role of apologies) at the 'Civil Unrest in Hong Kong Conference' on Tuesday 21 January 2020 at The University of Hong Kong. The panel was named 'Young People, Policing, and Transitional Justice' and was moderated by Alex Schwartz (Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, The University of Hong Kong). The presentation was well-received a sparked an interesting and engaging debate amongst conference attendees.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.law.hku.hk/events/civil-unrest-in-hong-kong-conference/
 
Description MPod Podcast Episode 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact MPod podcast episode by Prof Kieran McEvoy on 'Transitional Justice: Definitions, Approaches and Apologies.' Prof McEvoy was invited by the postgraduate team at the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice to talk on transitional justice and apologies in societies transitioning out of violent political conflicts. The outcome of the podcast was that more students could engage with McEvoy's teaching outside the classroom. It opened up knowledge on transitional justice to non-academic audiences beyond the university.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/qub-mitchell-institute/mpod
 
Description Muiris MacCarthaigh: 'Accountability, Reputation and Apologies' University of Utrecht 7 February 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Dr Muiris MacCarthaigh was invited to give a talk for the Accountable Governance research project at Utrecht University. His talk was followed by a question and answer session which sparked lively dialogue and debate.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://accountablegovernance.sites.uu.nl/the-research-team/
 
Description Muiris MacCarthaigh: 'The Role of Apologies in Dealing with the Past in Ireland' The 69th Political Studies Association Annual International Conference '(Un)Sustainable Politics in a Changing World' 15- 17 April 2019, Nottingham. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Dr Muiris MacCarthaigh gave a presentation titled 'The Role of Apologies in Dealing with the Past in Ireland' at The 69th Political Studies Association Annual International Conference on '(Un)Sustainable Politics in a Changing World' at the Nottingham Conference Centre in April 2019. The event was attended by other academics. Dr MacCarthaigh presented on the impact of apologies in the context of the Irish banking crisis Northern Ireland in the session entitled: 'Northern Ireland: Dealing With the Past and Discussing the Future' chaired by Dr Alan Greer (University of the West of England). The presentation was followed by a question and answer session.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.psa.ac.uk/sites/default/files/PSA19%20Conference%20Brochure%20FINAL.pdf
 
Description Plenary Address, 'Apologies, Reparations and Non-State Armed Groups', Geneva Reparations Week Conference, Kieran McEvoy 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact In June 2019 Prof Kieran McEvoy gave the plenary address entitled 'Apologies, Reparations and Non-State Armed Groups' at the Geneva Reparations Week Conference in Geneva Switzerland. The address discussed what role apologies by non-state armed groups can play in providing symbolic reparations to victims in societies recovering from violent conflict. It sparked a lively debate in the following question and answer session.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.geneva-academy.ch/news/detail/241-experts-and-practitioners-discuss-reparations-by-non-s...
 
Description Plenary Address, 'Restorative Justice and Dealing With the Past After Conflict.' The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), Bogota Colombia 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Professor Kieran McEvoy (PI) was invited to give a plenary address at a conference organised by The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) in Bogota Colombia. The JEP is the judicial mechanism developed as part of the 2016 Peace Accord between the Colombian government and the FARC. It is designed to assist victims of violence, mass atrocity and human rights violations. The conference was entitled 'Restorative Justice and Dealing With the Past After Conflict'. Following on from that conference a delegation of Senior JEP judges will visit Northern Ireland in May 2020 to learn more about the role of restorative justice in conflict resolution in that jurisdiction.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Plenary by Kieran McEvoy (Leeds University) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Prof Kieran McEvoy was invited to give a Plenary Talk at a conference at the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies at Leeds University in September 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Plenary by Shadd Maruna (Leeds University) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Prof Shadd Maruna was invited to give a plenary talk at a conference hosted by the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies at Leeds University, in September 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Presentation at University of Utrecht (Muiris MacCarthaigh) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Muiris MacCarthaigh gave a presentation titled 'Apologies, Accountability and Organizational Reputation' at a meeting of the Accountable Governance research network in the University of Utrecht on 6 November. The event was attend by ten PhDs and staff from the University's School of Governance. Muiris led an insightful and thought-provoking discussion with the students and staff, who were eager to learn more about the role of apologies in the context of the Irish banking crisis.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://accountablegovernance.sites.uu.nl
 
Description Presentation at workshop (Muiris MacCarthaigh at University of Nicosia) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Dr Muiris MacCarthaigh presented a paper on 'Apologies, Accountability and Organisational Reputation' in a Session on 'Accountability and Reputation' at the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) Joint Sessions hosted by the University of Nicosia. He presented to a group of 22 accountability experts and the paper provoked an interesting discussion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://ecpr.eu/Events/EventDetails.aspx?EventID=112
 
Description Professor Kieran McEvoy (PI) Plenary Address, Presidential Commission for the Establishment and Consolidation of Peace Conference, Bogota, Colombia 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact In June 2019 Professor Kieran McEvoy (PI) was invited to deliver a plenary address title 'The Irish Peace Process and the Uneven Transfer of Ideas: Lessons for Colombia?' at a conference organised by the Presidential Commission for the Establishment and Consolidation of Peace in Bogota, Colombia and the government of Ireland.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description QPol blog post by Muiris MacCarthaigh 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Dr Muiris MacCarthaigh wrote a blog for QPOL - Queen's University Belfast's policy engagement blog - on 'Ten Years on from the Banking Crisis' to mark 10 years since the Irish bank bailout. This blog is viewed by academics, policy makers and the wider public who are interested in how academic research is addressing and responding to current social, economic, political and cultural issues.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://qpol.qub.ac.uk/ten-years-on-from-the-banking-crisis/
 
Description Stakeholder seminar: The Banking Crisis a Decade On: Victim and Public perspectives on Apologies in Ireland 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The Apologies project team hosted a stakeholder seminar at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin on 27th September 2018. The event was attended by a mix of academics, public sector workers, practitioners from the banking sector, the general public, media and a small number of research participants. Presentations were given by the team and external speakers, and a lively and enthusiastic discussion followed. A number of participants mentioned that the presentations had encouraged them to think more about the role of apology. Following the event, The Irish Times newspaper ran an article on the event and the project ('Study of Apologies Shows a Sorry State, 29 September 2018). At the event, the team launched three policy reports drawing on data collected for the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/study-of-apologies-shows-a-sorry-state-1.3645066
 
Description Stakeholder seminar: Truth and Reconciliation Platform 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The Apologies, Abuses and Dealing with the Past project team hosted the Truth and Reconciliation Platform for an afternoon of storytelling by survivors followed by a discussion on issues of apology and acknowledgement. The event was held at Queen's University Belfast on 17 October 2018 and attended by approximately 60 people. Attendees included victims and survivors of the Northern Ireland conflict, representatives of NGOs, university students and staff, and members of the general public. During the discussion a range of views were heard form victims and survivors and form other members of the audience with regards their views on apologies. This was a valuable opportunity for the team to hear a diverse range of views on the value of apology in a post-conflict context, and a number of audience members fed back to the team that they found the event valuable.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description conference presentation (Anna Bryson, Columbia University) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Dr Anna Bryson presented a paper at the Historical Dialogues conference at Columbia University, New York, in December 2017. This paper was presented to an audience of approximately 30 and was well-received, sparking questions and discussion with conference delegates. The paper was presented to disseminate project progress and findings, and to gather feedback on how the project might be improved or developed as it progresses.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017