It is now time for those murdered by the IRA also to get full legacy inquests

The article by Dr Bill Duff in the News Letter on Tuesday was excellent.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 3:32 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th May 2021, 3:38 pm
Paul Young is an advisor to Northern Ireland Veterans Movement. He writes: "In 1979 two young soldiers of my regiment the Blues and Royals were murdered by the IRA in Andersonstown. Do they not also deserve an Article 2 compliant legacy inquest?"

(See below a link to the article: ‘Let the Ballymurphy findings show the way to getting legacy inquests for victims of terrorism,’ May 25)

The Northern Ireland Veterans Movement (NIVM), a newly formed oversight group incorporating the leaders, spokespersons and advisors for Justice for Northern Ireland Veterans, Million Veterans March, Rolling Thunder and other smaller veteran groups will be encouraging all soldiers, police officers and civilians to write to the Northern Ireland Attorney General and demand an immediate full Article 2 compliant legacy inquest for their loved ones.

NIVM agree that the families of those that died in Ballymurphy should have had a full Article 2 compliant legacy inquest. It therefore follows that in the interests of a search for the truth, fairness, balance, and consistency that all military deaths also have a full Article 2 compliant investigation as received by the Ballymurphy families.

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The same in depth and thorough Article 2 legacy inquests must be applied to all deaths of soldiers and policemen who were murdered by the Irish Republican Army from 1969 until 1998.

It is a tragic irony that prior to the 1971 Ballymurphy deaths, seven young soldiers were murdered by the IRA in the Ballymurphy area by IRA men living within the Ballymurphy community.

Do these young soldiers not also deserve an equal full Article 2 compliant legacy inquest into their deaths?

In April 1979 two young soldiers of my regiment the Blues and Royals were gunned down and murdered by IRA gunmen outside Andersonstown police station.

Do these young men not also deserve a full Article 2 compliant legacy inquest into their deaths?

Between 1969 and December 1972 the IRA murdered 257 soldiers, police officers and civilians. One could refer to all these murders as a wholesale massacre by the IRA on the forces of law and order and innocent civilians.

There can be no claim that the security forces were caught in the crossfire between various fighting factions. These were planned calculated murders of security force personnel and civilians by IRA terrorists.

Do these human beings not also deserve a full Article 2 compliant legacy inquest into their deaths?

Of course, they do.

I would contend that the European Court of Human Rights would also agree and insist that those murdered by terrorists equally deserve Article 2 Legacy inquests and the right to truth and justice in the same manner as the Ballymurphy families.

Dr Bill Duff is correct in his assertion that the police force of the day was under resourced and it was not possible to gather evidential opportunities and hold crime scene without further loss of life.

Dr Bill Duff is also correct in his assertion that information is held in the PSNI and security service files that should now be used to hold fresh inquests which would reveal exactly who had committed these murders, who commanded and controlled them and from where they planned, prepared, and executed their operations. If the law declines to permit individuals to be named there is still plenty of information which would bring explanation and comfort to the bereaved.

NIVM will be reaching out into the veteran community, regimental associations and families of those murdered by the IRA to encourage and help them to demand fresh full Article 2 compliant legacy inquests into murdered soldiers.

• Paul Young is a senior advisor to Northern Ireland Veterans Movement

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