Editorial: The unionist and UK moral collapse on the legacy of terrorism

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News Letter editorial on Tuesday August 8 2023:

Legacy inquests are one of the key components of the legacy scandal, in which the investigative focus on the Troubles has turned its gaze away from the biggest culprits, republican murderers.

Of scores of inquests, they have overwhelmingly been into deaths in which there are claims against the state, or that loyalists acted in concert with the state. These inquests have been happening with a raft of other investigations into state forces who prevented civil war, including two massive, multi-million pound inquiries into the Bloody Sunday and Ballymurphy killings - a latter investigation that failed to shed real light on the central role of republican terrorists in the chaos of August 1971. Also there have been the multiple civil actions, overwhelmingly funded by legal aid and overwhelmingly into state actors, and hundreds of claims before the police ombudsman against an RUC that had an almost impeccable record during decades of IRA-led violence.

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Yesterday five more inquests were ordered into the deaths of five Catholic men killed by loyalist, amid claims of collusion.

The UK has been weak through this legacy scandal, although unionist politicians have been worse – siding with nationalist critics of London on legacy, seemingly unaware that the larger the legacy structures they all demand, the greater the undue focus on police and army.

The UK has for all its failures not been as weak as it might have been – it might have folded to the Sinn Fein-Irish government demands on legacy for structures, Instead London has acted unilaterally to minimise legacy. But Dublin has been allowed to scold the UK on the past and threaten it with legal action for its supposed amnesty, when Ireland like Britain has operated a de facto amnesty for IRA leaders since prior to the 1994 IRA ceasefire. This is a unionist and British moral collapse.