London must show sympathy with ex Troubles soldiers

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

A backlash against republican distortion of history is finally beginning to emerge.

Soldiers from Great Britain who served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles are pressing for proper police investigations into IRA violence.

About time too. The state has funds for police ombudsman investigations and legacy inquest probes into past state failings.

Yet the terror gangs not only go unpunished, Sinn Fein chiefs can be shamelessly evasive about their own pasts while demanding full accountability of everyone else.

Gerry Adams is a laughing stock for claiming that he was never in an IRA that everyone else, friend and foe, assumes he helped to run. Martin McGuinness proudly cites an honour code why he does not have to be forthcoming about his own past senior role in the republican movement.

Meanwhile, the security forces are even criticised for failures in their investigations into republican terror.

It is not good enough for London to stand by as a neutral broker amid this rewriting of history. Our servicemen and women and former police and intelligence officers put themselves at risk in the fight against terrorism and helped make Northern Ireland a stable and peaceful place. Terrorists had to be coaxed away from violence.

Now, emboldened, their political representatives turn the spotlight on the past seemingly without any sense of anxiety that this underlines their own hypocrisy.

One way to show that the dispensation has changed would be for a British minister to meet with a group such as these soldiers and to begin to explore if there are ways in which the government can help.

If the point that Lord Justice Weir made is conceded (that the MoD has enough money for legal fees in legacy inquests), then there must be a push for hundreds of millions of pounds of government funds into fresh investigations into outstanding murders of the Troubles, which were disproportionately carried out by republicans.