The Malone House Group could bring much needed balance to media discussions around legacy

News Letter editorial of Monday September 20 2021:

By Editorial
Monday, 20th September 2021, 4:24 pm
Updated Monday, 20th September 2021, 6:56 pm
News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

Not only has the legacy of the Troubles been approached in a way that is seriously imbalanced against the UK state and its forces, but the discourse around it is distorted too.

Broadcast discussions typically include representatives from a range of different groups, including Relatives for Justice, Wave, the Committee for the Administration and others. But often most or all of the participants in a panel end up in agreement that the Stormont House Agreement was the template for tackling legacy.

It is left to the relentless Kenny Donaldson of Innocent Victims United to point out why many victims of terror have lost faith in that 2014 deal.

Thus, legacy discussions are dominated by voices or organisations that are pro Stormont House, or latterly by voices or organisations that are opposed to an amnesty.

However, as Jeff Dudgeon says in our report on page 14 (see link below), about an intervention over NI legacy by a number of Washington politicians, this too is highly misleading, because it implies, for example, that Sinn Fein and victims of terror oppose an amnesty for the same reason, and that veterans do too.

In fact they are often opposing it for quite different reasons, and they might even have opposite goals on legacy.

In other words, broadcast discussions on legacy not infrequently end up in bogus consensus that is in fact an opportunity for a shared attack on London.

If there is to be proper balance on the vital topic of legacy, a good starting point would be to invite Mr Dudgeon, a long-standing gay rights campaigner and a former Ulster Unionist councillor, on to the airwaves, and other members of his Malone House Group.

They spotted early how legacy was being twisted to vindicate a subtly pro terrorist narrative.

As ever, Mr Dudgeon’s analysis of the letter from US politicians is spot on. The Americans, many of them of Irish descent, imply that the UK is a gangster state when in truth the British response to Irish terrorists was one of decades of restraint — restraint the US certainly does not show to terror.

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Acting Editor