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  • Dr Catherine O'Rourke


Reconciliation Fund, Irish Department of Foreign Affairs

The Research

The absence of a gendered lens and the sustained exclusion of women from dealing with the past - from Eames-Bradley to Haass-O1Sullivan and now the Stormont House Agreement (SHA) - has meant that the gendered impact of the conflict and post-conflict legacy needs of women have not been adequately addressed.

The SHA is the latest agreement outlining structures to deal with the past in Britain and Ireland.

In response to gaps and shortcomings around gender in the SHA, an independent initiative made up of a diverse multidisciplinary group of individuals came together to work for the integration of gender into SHA legislation and implementation. In order to advance the work, three consultation workshops were held across the jurisdiction to obtain input and to work towards the principles reflecting as closely as possible the needs and priorities of victims and survivors.

The workshops were small and closed events that were restricted to women who had been bereaved as a result of the conflict, and were facilitated by individuals with extensive experience of working directly with victims, to allow meaningful discussion of the principles and issues.

The Gender Principles for Dealing with the Legacy of the Past are the outcome of this work.

These principles avoid distinctions and hierarchies between legislation for the new mechanisms to be established and the lived experience of victims and survivors who will ultimately engage these new mechanisms.

The Principles, case studies and case studies analysis seek to contribute to the effectiveness, quality and scope of what the SHA could potentially deliver.

This is the beginning of ongoing work that we have committed to undertake around these issues. This document will form our overarching framework.