Trevor Ringland: ‘It is unfair to prioritise legacy inquests over other Troubles deaths’

Sir Declan Morgan. Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Sir Declan Morgan. Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire

The Lord Chief Justice, Declan Morgan, has demanded that inquests into Troubles related murders where ‘collusion’ is alleged are ‘fast-tracked’.

The courts are confronted by a backlog of about 50 incidents which resulted in 80 deaths, so his concerns are understandable.

However, as a society, we have yet to deal with over 1,200 murders, at least 700 of which killed members of the security forces.

It would cost £10 million to set up a special unit to tackle the backlog of inquests.

It is surely unfair that this money is spent on investigating 80 murders, when so many are outstanding.

The state has an obligation to investigate them all.

Indeed, many more investigations were started and only partially completed.

Increasingly I am of the view that it is unlikely that we will ever deal with the past in a way which delivers truth and justice to all victims.

Irish nationalism insisted on a political deal the consequences of which seems to have effectively put 60% of perpetrators beyond the law.

Incredibly many of those responsible for murders have been shown tremendous grace by society, in the hope of securing a better future for our children.

Maybe we should now be honest with victims of violence about what can be achieved.

If we suspend investigations into the past, in their many forms, it would be on the understanding that violence should never have been used in the past, will never again be used to promote a political cause and that we will build a genuinely shared society in Northern Ireland and across these islands.

We could then deal with the future, bed down the peace we currently enjoy and build relationships, rather than destroy them.

We would avoid the hazards of treating some murders differently from others and show proper respect to victims and their families.

Trevor Ringland, Holywood