I remark with interest the ruling from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on the so-called ‘hooded men’ case.
One of these men, Jim Auld stated, “The court of human rights in Strasbourg has colluded with governments who do torture by allowing them to keep this ruling in place, and those techniques of torture can be used on their citizens and other people for their own ends.”
I also listened to the statement by the men’s solicitor and how they intend to continue to appeal this case originally presented by the Republic of Ireland (RoI).
The ECHR has upheld its 1978 judgment in the so-called ‘hooded men’ case by 6-1 in which it ruled the men had been subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, but not torture at the hands of the British authorities during the ‘Troubles.’
Irish republicans have lauded previous judgments by this court over and over, but appear to be dismayed when unusually the court has ruled against them.
It is my understanding that the ‘five’ methods used on these men were standard procedures of the time used against those who the British would have deemed to be possible ‘enemy combatants’, and accepted by the Geneva Convention.
I therefore presume this had some bearing on the ruling.
When the RoI government took their original case against the British in the early 70s, the Provisionals were launching a full scale assault on the border people of Northern Ireland. Like most terrorist organisations, it needed a safe haven, and the Provos had that in the Republic of Ireland.
Outside the urban conurbations of Belfast and Londonderry, any graphical map will show you that incidents were most concentrated along the border.
As a fellow EU state, it should have been the duty of the RoI to fully assist the UK in defeating this evil organisation.
Yet the Provos continued to use the Republic as a launch pad, and numerous requests for extradition of the most evil perpetrators of republican crimes were continually refused by the Irish government, who justified these crimes as political.
I work with many people who were failed by the Irish state, left defenceless by these constant cross-border raids.
I understand that there are still a number of Provos living in the Republic who were unable to avail of the so-called ‘On The Run’ letters due to the evidence against them.
Where is the Irish government in upholding the human rights of the border people, where are their cries for justice and accountability?
Their role as a democratic state is surely not restricted to representing the position of the ‘hooded men’ but also in upholding the rights of the many thousands of British citizens of Northern Ireland failed by what that the RoI state either did or failed to do over the years of the terrorist campaign.
Ken Funston, Advocacy Services Manager, South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF), Lisnaskea