Hillsborough: the need for closure

The Hillsborough Memorial Scroll

Of the British footballing tragedies of the twentieth century, none had such an emotional impact as the Hillsborough disaster – something which is still an important issue even over 20 years later.

The poignant memorials to those who lost their lives, as well as the sheer volume of press coverage, is testament to this.

Some members of the families of the 96 who died have since been demanding further answers and accountability for some of the more murky aspects of the events, such as senior policemen engaging in a conscious attempt to cover their own backs following the disaster.

The government has agreed to release Cabinet papers concerning the disaster ahead of the standard thirty year schedule, which can hopefully begin to answer some of the questions that remain about the events of that day.

That the families have been demanding it for so long shows the necessity of providing them with the full facts, whatever that might entail.

Walton MP Steve Rotherham has suggested that ‘the establishment don’t want the documents released’, due to implications they might have for the police and government of the time. In my opinion, I think it is unlikely there was a cover-up that stretched to government level.

There were undoubtedly massive failures on the part of South Yorkshire Police and Sheffield Wednesday Football Club, as referenced in the Taylor Report.

The attempts by South Yorkshire Police to pin responsibility onto Liverpool fans were morally reprehensible. The allegations made by The Sun, of fans stealing from and urinating on the dead, fall into the same category.

Even if the papers do not bring the answers that the families are looking for, it will still have been worthwhile if it helps to bring closure to at least some of the families of the 96 who lost their lives that day.

They have been waiting for over 20 years for answers – they should not have to wait any longer.

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