Martin McGuinness would do well to keep the violence of the IRA in mind as he demands more money for Troubles-related inquests, a unionist MP has claimed.
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, DUP MP for Lagan Valley and ex-UDR soldier, accused the Deputy First Minister of focusing solely on deaths attributable to police or the Army, at the expense of the much bigger number of paramilitary-related fatalities.
On Thursday, the Sinn Fein Foyle MLA had met with relatives of some of those killed in the Troubles, and said: “It is disgraceful that families, some of whom have been waiting for more than 40 years, have had to face continual delays and frustrations because of the actions of the British government.”
Mr Donaldson responded: “The difficulty with Sinn Fein’s approach to all of this is it focuses exclusively on what the state is alleged to have done.
“I think we’d all be more impressed with Martin McGuinness’ comments on such matters if he were more even-handed, and recognised that more than 90 per cent of the deaths during the Troubles were caused by terrorist organisations, including the IRA, and that we need for those families to have access to justice.”
According to the book Lost Lives, which offers a compendium of Troubles-era deaths, between 1966 and 2001 republicans of various factions were responsible for 2,148 deaths – 1,778 of them by the PIRA.
Of these IRA deaths, the majority – 642 – were civilians (with the next biggest category, 456, being British mainland-based military personnel).
Loyalists were responsible for 1,071 deaths, and the security forces for 365.