Amnesty means truth and justice will remain buried with my murdered brother

A letter from George Larmour:

Friday, 16th July 2021, 2:45 pm
Updated Friday, 16th July 2021, 2:50 pm
The RUC man John Larmour in Portugal 1988, months before he was murdered by the IRA in an Ice Cream Parlour on the Lisburn Road in south Belfast
The RUC man John Larmour in Portugal 1988, months before he was murdered by the IRA in an Ice Cream Parlour on the Lisburn Road in south Belfast

I am not a victims’ campaigner.

So I won’t waste time debating the pros and cons of the latest government’s statute of limitations legacy proposals that secretary of state Brandon Lewis outlined in the House of Commons. Nor will I get into the divisive discussion about who benefits most from this latest proposal on how to deal with the legacy of the Troubles.

I speak only for myself, my brother John and my mum and dad.

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Letter to the editor

As the French Philosopher Voltaire once said: “To the living we owe respect, but to the dead we owe only the truth”

So as I listened to Brandon Lewis and the prime minister Boris Johnston speak in the House of Commons and heard Mr Lewis attempting to justify the government’s position in follow-up media interviews here is exactly how I personally felt.

You Mr Lewis and the prime minister effectively stamped on the graves of my brother and my parents. Trampling the earth down deeper ensuring that justice and the truth will forever remain buried along with them.

And in doing so you have shown no respect for those like myself, the living, still trying to pick up the pieces of our shattered lives, in my case almost 33 years later.

I had come to accept that it was unlikely that I would ever see justice for John’s murder. No-one will see the inside of a courtroom or prison cell now so many years later.

So I had reluctantly and naively believed that perhaps one day I might see the truth being told. I am baffled to understand how your proposals will achieve this.

They essentially grant the gunman who killed John and effectively my broken hearted parents, the luxury of living the rest of his life in the reassuring knowledge that he will never be made answerable for his actions in any form. There is no incentive for him to tell me the truth. He has his official ‘Get out of Jail’ letter now.

So how is this meant to enable community reconciliation and enable me to move forward when everything is simply swept under the blood-stained carpet of deceit?

You choose your ministerial words so carefully such as ‘holistically’ and how you ‘recognise’ our pain and how you ‘understand’ we will find your proposals ‘challenging’.

The only words that come to my mind are ‘distressing’ – ‘nauseating’ – ‘insensitive’ – ‘disgraceful’ - ‘deceitful’ and as I have come to expect when dealing with most politicians …. ‘predictable’.

Victims and their families have been made to feel they are of no real importance. We have always felt patronised and treated with contempt.

I recently heard someone cynically but accurately sum up politics and politicians as follows:

“Politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are only interested in solving their problems of which getting elected and re-elected are priority number one and number two.”

Well done prime minister. Great job secretary of state. Your statute of limitations is the final nail in so many coffins. What a legacy.

George Larmour, Author of ‘They Killed the Ice Cream Man’

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