Ray White’s brilliant essay highlights the legacy scandal facing the RUC, which has an impeccable Troubles record

News Letter editorial of Monday August 9 2021:

Monday, 9th August 2021, 11:31 am
Updated Monday, 9th August 2021, 2:37 pm
News Letter editorial

For years this newspaper has been covering the great scandal of how legacy has turned against the forces who prevented civil war.

It is a scandal with many facets, but perhaps its worst aspect is the treatment of the RUC.

It has an impeccable record, despite the republican lies about collusion. Like the UDR, the RUC knew all the key IRA murderers, but patiently kept tabs on them, arrested them if there were grounds to do so.

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Yet, in the aftermath of the Stormont House legacy deal, only the RUC faced historic misconduct probes.

While almost all other legacy investigations related to killings, the organisation with an outstanding record and which killed only a handful of terrorists in situations when lethal force was necessary, was the one to face sub criminal investigations for allegations of past ‘misconduct’.

Under the mooted Historic Investigations Unit, IRA bombers who ruined livelihoods and maimed people would not have faced investigation for blasts that inflicted massive destruction but did not actually kill anyone.

Some advocates of the police misconduct plan did so on the basis that historic cases would be taken out of the Police Ombudsman’s office. While of course that would be welcome (indeed is increasingly essential) it would mean acceptance either way of the fact that ex RUC must be perpetually investigated, and assessed on the balance of probabilities.

Ray White’s brilliant essay today (see link below) explains the scandal of how the RUC now faces ‘collusive behaviour’ findings. The Ombudsman in reply cites a 2020 Belfast Appeal Court ruling. This ruling, which ultimately dampened the impact of a key earlier ruling on the unfairness of collusion findings by Mr Justice McCloskey, should have been appealed to the Supreme Court, but the retired police — disgracefully — are left to fund themselves, while terrorists often get legal aid in court actions.

Again and again we should say thanks to Ray and his many colleagues for their painstaking work thwarting terrorist murderers, while so impeccably adhering to the rule of law — and how ashamed we are as a society at their legacy struggles.

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