Essays will examine a legacy bias that has become a scandal

Morning View
Morning View

The News Letter is almost the only media outlet that has said for years that the way the legacy of the Troubles is being examined is lopsided.

Gradually what was a problem has become a national scandal. The weight of a state that prevented civil war during the Troubles and saw off a determined terrorist campaign has turned against state forces.

Many people say there is no imbalance. While they are of course entitled to their view, there is no shortage of outlets where they can make it and no shortage of films that present the past through the prism of a Britain that fought a dirty war.

In coming weeks we are making space for another view, as a crucial public consultation on dealing with the past comes to an end.

This is not just a narrative issue, it is a matter of looming criminal trials for security forces, perhaps the first of many.

The imbalance includes early prisoner releases in 1998 (given in goodwill, without tying it to decommissioning).

A £200 million Bloody Sunday inquiry (£15m per victim).

The On The Runs secret scheme to appease the IRA.

Legacy inquests into mainly state killings (around 40 of the 92 dead were terrorists), which might cost £1m each.

A PSNI legacy branch case load that is 30% state killings when the state killed 10% of Troubles dead, most legally.

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

Police Ombudsman investigations of past police wrongdoing (to balance of probabilities, not criminal, standard).

The fact that state had records.

Prosecutor orders to police to investigate past incidents, which are overwhelmingly into state.

Republican civil actions against state funded by legal aid.

The essay contributors will look at how this imbalance has arisen, what its impact has been on victims and those who served their country, and what can be done to rectify it, including the examination of mooted Stormont House bodies.

None of the contributors are being paid. They are all people who are deeply concerned about what is happening.

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