William Matchett is right about the legacy imbalance

William Matchett at the News Letter office with his book: Secret Victory  the intelligence war that beat the IRA

Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
William Matchett at the News Letter office with his book: Secret Victory  the intelligence war that beat the IRA Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

William Matchett (February 10) is right to warn that an amnesty for security forces will help Sinn Fein legitimise the IRA as a bona fide army on a par with the British Army and the RUC.

The IRA crave legitimacy above all else.

Like the SS Heinrich Himmler they want to be regarded as “decent fellows” (in a secret address to SS officers at Posen, Poland in October 1943, Himmler reminded his listeners that while most of them had overseen horrific atrocities against the Jews in eastern Europe, they had also managed to remain “decent fellows” – a “glorious page,” as he called it, in German history).

The one-sided legacy inquests focusing on the 10% of deaths attributable to the state (almost all lawful) and largely ignoring the 60% for which the IRA was responsible is part of their strategy.

As William Matchett points out, the British could stop this “witch hunt juggernaut against Troubles veterans by cutting the finance that drives it”.

This includes vast sums of legal aid paid out to numerous lawyers.

Ah, but you will hear them say, you can’t put a price on justice, and the law must take its course.

Quite so – well then, let us allocate 90% of the resources to the 90% of murders by terrorists (IRA and others) and the remainder to state killings (many of which have already been investigated).

Let’s have some justice in the administration of justice.

The truth, as William Matchett knows better than anyone, is that the IRA was outsmarted and outfought by the security forces in their squalid campaign.

In particular the RUC special branch had infiltrated the organisation with informers like a cancerous tumour.

The most telling manifestation of the success of this tactic was at Loughgall.

William Matchett does well to warn that the lop-sided “peace process” is a cause for concern to the men and women who served in the security services often at great personal cost.

It is up to unionist leaders and their allies to press for radical reform on the basis of his cogent analysis.

Robert Morton, Ballymena