Legacy deadline should be extended past September 10

Morning View
Morning View

The Ulster Unionist veteran Doug Beattie, opposite, calls for a consultation on planned legacy bodies to be extended past September 10.

Mr Beattie MLA described it as “one of the most important consultation processes that has ever taken place in Northern Ireland”.

He is right about that and right to call for an extension.

These proposals need careful scrutiny, given the scandalous things that have been happening in legacy.

Elderly soldiers face trials for historic killings but no IRA leaders face trial for their murder and mayhem.

There is clearly no public expectation that they will face trial. But it is wrong to think a statute of limitations will resolve this if a non criminal quest for collusion continues.

Nor is it good enough to say that the current processes are unbalanced, so we must move to new structures that will be less unbalanced, without guidance as to how.

The good news is that there is a Tory government propped up by the DUP, so we do not face ministers who are naive about the IRA. Politicians from the prime minister down have said that the current set-up is unfair, but that is no reason to bounce NI into complex structures.

If the new bodies are the way to go then people, most of all victims, need the system to be explained and defended.

Meanwhile, the News Letter will soon launch a series of essays on the legacy scandal in which terrorists are so cocky as to have the nerve to demand accountability of others — looking at how we got here and how we get out of it.