Outstanding legacy cases must get the same level of scrutiny

Morning View
Morning View

Of the many troubling features of the recent political crisis, one is particularly alarming.

For months Sinn Fein has been making demands on legacy.

The party that was inextricably linked with the decades of murder and misery inflicted on society by the Provisional IRA is actually making demands on the past.

This rather suggests that republicans are confident that they will win the narrative over what happened in the Troubles.

It is not hard to see why they think this.

The state, which did so much to maintain the rule of law and stability in Northern Ireland and which so rarely killed the terrorist murderers, is retrospectively being picked apart for its failures. State bodies have records and so can be ordered to divulge information – as they are being, in various cases.

All the while, there is a drip, drip of revelations and next to nothing is emerging about the IRA, and those members of Sinn Fein who were active in that brutal terror group.

Every few weeks the anniversary of another IRA atrocity comes round, yet republican godfathers somehow are not brought to book for it. Meanwhile, elderly soldiers face trial.

It ought to hardly need to be said that there must be no deal and no prospect of a deal to revive Stormont unless this imbalance is overhauled. Yet it does need said, because nothing has emerged to suggest that there will be a deal on legacy that rectifies the imbalance. Plenty of rumours suggest SF is not giving way on its legacy red line.

It is reported that £150 million for legacy is back on the table.

Any amount of money spent on legacy and on past investigations must be broken down pro rata per death, so that a roughly similar amount of taxpayer funds is spent on each outstanding Troubles killing. This for example would mean that if 94 legacy inquests get a certain amount of money spent per case, then 1,000+ unsolved terror murders get the same.

Any imbalance in the proportionate money spent on legacy probes is clearly unacceptable.