Mark Thompson suggested in Friday’s News Letter (February 3) that your paper shows a political imbalance with its narrative of the past.
We must look and question Mr Thompson’s view of the imbalance within legacy review and the inquest system.
He points out that there are “56 inquests into killings by loyalists, republicans and the state’s armed forces”.
However he is being quite economical with the truth. The list of these Article Two inquests that I have sight of contains the murders of four loyalists by other loyalists, the Kingsmills massacre which is ongoing, and one incident involving the murder of three RUC officers near Lurgan.
Therefore out of 56 inquests there are only six not involving the republican/nationalist community, is this the balance he is referring to?
Mr Thompson continues with, “I also understand that a number of killings of UDR/RIR soldiers by republicans may also come before the attorney general for consideration to reopen fresh inquests.”
This appears to be a filler on his part in an attempt to give some balance to his piece, and is without foundation.
He is correct in his assumption that, “many of the bereaved want a rigorous and robust investigation of all the evidence without favour concerning the killing of a loved one”.
That is not available to most families. The murder on our family farm of my brother warranted a quick half hour in an open coroner’s court a few weeks after his murder, and an open verdict, is this the fairness he refers to?
Mr Thompson continues, “Even if we take the perception that there exists an imbalance on cases being examined then surely the logical step is to implement the HIU”.
Slightly ambiguous on his part, yet he does recognise that there is a perception of imbalance, an imbalance that continues to pursue retired security force members whilst ignoring those terrorists who set out to destroy this country by murder and mayhem.
The HET were disbanded following a critical HM Inspectorate of Policing report due to complaints of unfairness.
The complaints alleged that the deaths of members of the security forces were receiving a higher quality of review.
I have sight of a copy of the review of a murdered part-time member of the security forces; it is six pages long. That is the value they put on his life, is this the fairness Mr Thompson alludes to?
I am also aware of the many security force families who have never even been contacted by the HET, they deliberately passed them by, seems like this is another example of Mr Thompson’s fairness.
There is a great deal of hope that the HIU can be better than what went on before, but please, don’t continue to peddle this myth that the pro-Union community are getting a better deal.
On the contrary there is a clear imbalance in legacy issues against that community, and Mr Thompson’s comments are inaccurate and unhelpful.
Ken Funston, South East Fermanagh Foundation