Orange Order chief hits out at proposals to deal with the legacy of the Troubles

Iain Carlisle, chief executive of the Orange Order
Iain Carlisle, chief executive of the Orange Order

The Orange Order’s chief executive has written a scathing assessment of plans to deal the legacy of the Troubles.

Iain Carlisle, in the News Letter today, recaps on the 336 Orange members murdered by republicans — almost 10% of all people who were killed.

Writing on the inaugural Orange Victims Day, which has been launched on the anniversary of the 1975 Tullyvallen Orange hall massacre in south Armagh, Mr Carlisle, says that many “of these murders and attacks on our members remain unsolved”.

Mr Carlisle, contributing to our Stop The Legacy Scandal series of essays (see link below) on the way in which the whole weight of the British state has turned against the security forces who prevented civil war and there is minimal progress in getting justice against terrorists, adds that “the republican movement continues its process of attempting to re-write” history.

“Their narrative aims to ensure that in future, those who examine the period will consider that their campaign of terror was somehow justified, and that all sides share in the blame for the causes and consequences of the decades of suffering.”

He says: “The current system, and the new proposals, do little to address the already disproportionate level of investigation applied to those killings attributed to the state.

“Ambiguity continues around the much-contested definition of a victim. These proposals bring no clarity on this matter — indeed the current consultation even manages to avoid using the term ‘terrorist’ or ‘terrorism’.”

Mr Carlisle says that many “innocent victims and their families have lost hope of ever finding answers or justice”.

He adds that under the new Historical Investigations Unit (HIU), the body that it was hoped would bring balance to the process, there will be a “continuing disparity in the disproportionate examination of killings attributed to state forces due to the lack of evidence/records” held by terrorists.

And he says that “reconciliation can only begin when there is a full and sincere admission by those involved in the terror campaign that their actions were ... wrong”.

Mr Carlisle is the latest influential voice in our series of essays — including Colonel Tim Collins, Canon Ian Ellis, Chief Superintendent Norman Baxter and Professor Arthur Aughey — to express alarm about the pro terrorist direction of travel on legacy.

The series, including contributions from victims and politicians, will continue each day, beyond the September 10 deadline for public responses to the proposals.

Next week the lawyer Neil Faris will write about the how ex RUC face such a travesty of justice under HIU police misconduct procedures that the legacy bill must be scrapped.

Orange chief: Republicans relentlessly blacken security forces to re-write history