AS a unionist who opposed the Belfast Agreement and has St Andrews Agreement as undemocratic sops to republican terrorism, I might be expected to automatically rage against the murder inquiry into the actions of soldiers on Bloody Sunday.
But while many unionists who I know and respect are opposed to the possibility of prosecutions, on this I respectfully disagree.
Eighteen months ago in this newspaper, I stated that the Saville Inquiry showed that what happened on Bloody Sunday was wrong.
Thirteen citizens of the United Kingdom were killed by a small number of members of the Parachute Regiment.
The vast majority of the soldiers on Bloody Sunday behaved correctly as did almost all the security forces throughout the Troubles. On that day, however, some behaved wrongly.
Currently all the soldiers are innocent, having been convicted of nothing. Saville was not a court and could not convict them. The standard for criminal conviction is correctly high: higher than Saville’s tribunal.
The way our legal system works is for the Public Prosecution Service to obtain the evidence gathered by the police and decide whether there is a reasonable chance of conviction and whether the prosecution is in the public interest.
There is no time limit for murder prosecutions: we were delighted that Robert Black, the paedophile who murdered Jennifer Cardy in 1981, was recently convicted.
The rule of law must be the same for all: the Bloody Sunday deaths must be no different. The police must acquire the evidence and if appropriate prosecutions must follow. If our soldiers murdered citizens of our country they should be made to pay for their crimes.
Convicting the guilty and exonerating the innocent is very clearly in the public interest. However, just because the deaths on Bloody Sunday were wrong does not mean that the Parachute Regiment soldiers committed murder. The way to establish the truth is by due legal process.
We as unionists must stand by our principles: those of law abiding democrats. We owe it to ourselves and all the members of the security forces including those in Londonderry on Bloody Sunday to seek to establish the truth: no matter what it is.
We were delighted when Gerry McGeough was recently convicted of the attempted murder of Sammy Brush in 1981. For us to support the prosecution of the terrorist thug McGeough and oppose consideration of prosecution of the soldiers would show us to be on a moral high horse.
Throughout the Troubles and subsequently unionists have not been on a moral high horse: rather we have held the moral high ground. The security forces rightly obeyed the law in the fight for democracy against the rag tag band of sectarian butchers of the IRA and the murderous thugs of the so-called loyalists.
We all supported the security forces and part of that means that we support investigation of them where there is the possibility that they have done wrong. The fact that many years have passed is irrelevant; the fact that the police investigation will be expensive is irrelevant. It is when it is most difficult that the flame of truth and justice must be tended the most. That is what we as a community and our defenders did throughout the Troubles and that is exactly what we must do now.
Lest anyone misunderstand let me make this extremely clear. There must be no hiding place for any possible criminals from the Troubles.
All should be investigated by due legal process: be they the events of Bloody Sunday or those of Bloody Friday, Loughinisland, Enniskillen, La Mon, Teebane, Kingsmills, Darkley and countless others.
Again lest anyone misunderstand, there must be no hiding place for any suspects from the Troubles no matter who they are: whether or not they have ever worn the Queen’s uniform; whether or not they have ever shaken the Queen’s hand.
n Dr Morgan is an NHS consultant