FOR some, there is no wound which cuts as deep, as wide or as close to the bone.

The scars still punctuate the social landscape of so many communities – a haunting homage to such a catastrophic loss of livelihood and a reminder of the treatment of working class families.

Clackmannanshire felt the full force of the Miners' Strikes of the 1980s. Families throughout the county bore witness to the devastating affair and its effects.

So great was the impact that efforts are still being made to repair the damage caused in former mining communities.

Perhaps one of the most damning of effects was to those who found themselves in court as a result of clashes and incidents with police.

Re-training of workers was always going to be an arduous exercise, but doing so with the spectre of criminal convictions hanging over their heads.

It was long argued that miners were made an example of and that many were treated harshly by the system. That claim has now been validated.

The Scottish Government published a report last week following an independent review into the impact of policing during the 1984-85 strikes.

After years of campaigning, the overriding recommendation is that many workers will be issued pardons for certain offences.

As news of the report permeated, a wave of relief and vindication washed over the lives of so many in the Wee County. Jim Tierney, who previously spoke of hopes his conviction could one day be quashed, was among them.

The Sauchie man, formerly of Castlehill Colliery, conjured up memories of friends and colleagues from the strike and the difficult years that followed.

He considers himself "very fortunate" to be able to turn his life around and re-train as a teacher. He lost his job in the wake of a conviction but never saw the inside of a courtroom again.

However, others were not so lucky and sadly, some had taken their own lives as they could not cope as they lost their jobs and good names.

Jim told the Advertiser: "For some of the other guys, especially in the particular case I was involved in, they did not have the chance to re-train in anything.

"They were older boys, Arthur Ovens was 53 at the time – he couldn't have retrained in much at all.

"Tom Woods must have been approaching 50, Willie Mackay was in his 40s and Pat McVey was in his 40s.

"They were all guys who spent their whole working life in the coal mines.

"This is very welcome for me, but it's too late for some.

"Very sadly Pat McVey, who I think stayed in Benview – he was in the Hillfoots; he died a couple of years after the Miners' Strike.

"He never got over it."

The 90-page independent review exploring policing of the 1984-85 Miners' Strike argued that the application of the criminal law by police, prosecutors and sheriffs "appears to have had an element of arbitrary application".

The report also touches upon the lasting impact on those directly affected by the affair.

The document continued: "Many men who had been in no trouble before and none since, burdened still by the loss of their jobs and good names, believe that the justice system and state as a whole punished them in a grossly excessive manner.

"It is hard to disagree, especially having regard to the dismissals which followed arrest or conviction."

Pardons, if agreed and put into legislation at Holyrood at a later date, will have to satisfy the designated criteria.

The review says miners should be pardoned if they had no subsequent convictions, were convicted for a breach of the peace, for breach of bail conditions, and if the case was disposed of by way of a fine.

Jim, who spent around 25 days in HMP Barlinnie, still vividly remembers the time he and his fellow miners were hauled to the dock at Alloa Sheriff Court.

He disputes the outcome of the four-day trial and the evidence given relating to an incident in Fishcross.

He said: "I'll never forget the court case; the likes of Pat and Arthur – they literally couldn't bite their fingernails, they could hardly tell the court their name, they were that nervous.

"These are all guys that would never have had a criminal conviction before it or after it."

Jim, who was an "activist and conscious socialist", added: "I knew what I was getting into, but these other people who were just fighting for their jobs, communities and really was devastating for them."

And unfortunately, their arrest triggered a further incident, leading to two of Jim's friends ending up in prison.

Jim, who featured prominently in the documentary Still the Enemy Within, added: "One of the boys, he never got over it and he actually committed suicide a few years later.

"But, we have to say: it's better late than never."

He thanked MSP Neil Findlay for his work in pushing for a review along with Thomson Solicitors – called Robin Thomson at the time – for supporting trade unionists.

Jim, who was involved in organising the strike and support for the miners, said credit should also go to former justice secretary Michael Matheson and the Scottish Government for bringing the independent review forward.

MSP Keith Brown, who also welcomed the findings, said: "A great number of local miners from across Clackmannanshire have suffered for years due to the excessive convictions handed out during the strike.

"The strike may have taken place 35 years ago, but there is still much anger in many of our local communities about how the miners were treated – and rightly so."

He added the move was to "right a historic wrong".

Gary Ellis, chief executive of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, said the "long-awaited" pardon was welcome.

He went further in calling on Westminster to follow the lead.

The CRT chief executive added: "While we welcome today's good news in Scotland, more has to be done to support our mining communities."