Legacy needs overhaul that Stormont House bodies will not bring

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

Recently the Irish deputy prime minister Simon Coveney met victims and survivors, and then called for “urgent progress” on legacy.

Mr Coveney, who is never slow to tell Britain what it must do, then said Ireland would help push along the Stormont House Agreement legacy structures. He seemed to be trying to make clear that Ireland was being constructive, as well as prodding other participants.

The problem is that almost every day there are fresh grounds to believe that the approach to the legacy of the Troubles needs an overhaul the Stormont House bodies will not bring.

Far from funding a raft of legacy inquests, which Mr Coveney again demanded after his meeting and Sinn Fein also demands (no wonder, given that many of the dead are terrorists killed by the state), we need to pause completely on legacy.

It was confirmed yesterday that two elderly soldiers will face trial for shooting an IRA murderer.

Meanwhile, there no outward sign of progress in being made in bringing IRA leaders to trial.

Meanwhile, ‘collusion’ is still defined in a way that delights republicans, as they continue to spray allegations of it.

Meanwhile, the PSNI legacy branch is swamped with historic investigations, disproportionately into the state (the last figures showed 30% of the probes were into the a state that was behind 10% of Troubles killings, overwhelmingly legitimate).

The recent decision to fund a private civil case against the Hyde Park bombers but the failure of victims of the IRA Birmingham mass murderers to get the same, show that things can be done — and they must be done, given that republicans are so cocky on legacy they have made of Stormont House implementation central to return of devolution.

As for the Irish Republic, given that it took a ‘hooded men’ case that was rejected at Strasbourg, it is time the UK finally starts referring to Ireland’s extradition refusals of IRA murderers that made Margaret Thatcher realise she had made a huge blunder in giving a Dublin a say in Northern Ireland.