Despairing IRA victims have no faith in legacy justice

Morning View
Morning View

The legacy processes in Northern Ireland of late have been scandalously one-sided.

Yet when this has been said by senior politicians in the Conservative Party a host of people in other parties in Northern Ireland have said that they are not one-sided, as well as some people in positions of authority and sections of the media.

The one-sided nature of the processes includes the early prisoner releases agreed in 1998 (without tying it to decommissioning), the £200 million Bloody Sunday inquiry, the On The Runs secret scheme to appease the IRA, the legacy inquests which are mainly into state killings, the fact that the PSNI legacy branch has a case load which is made up of 30% state killings (when in fact the state killed 10% of the Troubles dead, most of them legitimate), the Police Ombudsman investigations of past police wrongdoing (to the balance of probabilities standard, not criminal standard), the fact that police had records, the Section 35 (5) prosecutor orders, which this newspaper revealed are almost all anti state, and the civil actions funded by the state, which are also almost all anti state.

In fact the PSNI legacy branch actual active investigations are said to be mostly into major probes including Bloody Sunday so their time might be even more than 30% spent on state.

This is not merely a scandal, it is almost beyond belief, given what the IRA did to this society and the way the security forces reacted so professionally to the murder and mayhem.

But it is not good enough to rush into new structures that might be somewhat less anti state just because the current system is disgracefully so.

Last night’s passionate meeting of victims at Stormont confirmed how few IRA victims feel they got satisfaction from the HET reports into the murder of their loved ones. The coming Stormont structures should not be implemented unless it is crystal clear the mooted Historical Investigations Unit will overwhelmingly look at terror violence and likely to get results. The victims last night are not confident of that.