It is deeply worrying that Ireland took this ‘hooded men’ case

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

The decision by the European Court of Human Rights not to re-hear the case of the UK’s treatment of the ‘hooded men’ during the Troubles is of huge significance.

The ruling, rejecting a bid to designate the treatment as torture, was overwhelming, with six votes to one saying that there was “no justification” to revise a 1978 ruling that found treatment of the men was inhumane and degrading.

In this latest judgement on the case, the judge elected in respect of Ireland issued a dissenting opinion but the margin of defeat was otherwise dramatic.

It also casts fresh light on the fact that Dublin has taken a case that, by giving it official Irish government support, seemed to reflect all the more badly on the United Kingdom.

Once again, while Ireland behaves in this way, the British government does nothing in response to make Dublin feel uncomfortable in relation to its historic failures against the Provisional IRA killing machine.

It is as usual left to people like Doug Beattie MLA and Jim Allister MLA to question such tactics by Ireland.

Mr Allister is of course right to say that we must now have scrutiny of Ireland’s persistent and long lasting extradition failures during the Troubles, that was so helpful to the IRA campaign of murder and — without doubt — real torture.

Once again it is time to pause and think hard about the Stormont House legacy structures, which the UK government seems so keen to approve.

In particular, there is still no clarity on the cost and scope and duration of the legacy inquests, so coveted by Sinn Fein.

We have now had more than enough evidence of the subtle, but far-reaching, efforts to portray the British security forces as having been as bad as the IRA during the Troubles.

It is deeply troubling that the Irish government associated itself with a legacy case against the UK that was so emphatically deemed by the European Court of Human Rights to be deserving of a fresh hearing, as Dublin sought.