Trevor Ringland: Sinn Fein contaminates the campaign of the Loughinisland families

Families and supporters of the Loughanisland massacre, including Sinn Fein politicians, at Belfast High Court on Friday for the judgment in which Mr Justice McCloskey decided he will step aside after a claim of a perception of bias.' Photo Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
Families and supporters of the Loughanisland massacre, including Sinn Fein politicians, at Belfast High Court on Friday for the judgment in which Mr Justice McCloskey decided he will step aside after a claim of a perception of bias.' Photo Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

Like Mr Justice McCloskey my sympathies in respect of the Loughinisland atrocity lie firmly with the victims and their families.

They and so many others deserve truth and justice. For instance there are 700 members of the security forces whose families have not had either truth or justice either.

Family  and supporters, including Sinn Fein politicians, of the Loughinisland and other massacres at Stormont in November. '''Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Family and supporters, including Sinn Fein politicians, of the Loughinisland and other massacres at Stormont in November. '''Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

However, in a democracy, we are, whether we like it or not, required to work through normal legal principles. One of the most important is that the accused is innocent until proven guilty and has a right to a fair trial.

Bearing that in mind, any judge who is now appointed to hear the case and evaluate the same points of law, is almost certain to reach the same findings as Mr Justice McCloskey.

Can I also advise the Loughinisland families to distance themselves from Sinn Fein and anyone in the nationalist or republican movement who cannot state openly and clearly that the period of conflict that we call ‘The Troubles’ was unnecessary, wrong and unjustified.

Violence perpetrated by the IRA, like that perpetrated by loyalists and acts committed by the members of the police and army which fell outside the law, fed the hatred in our society and compounded our problems rather than resolving them.

Letter to the editor

Letter to the editor

It’s also clear that the republican movement is using the past to alienate a large section of our society from the state.

Any proper analysis of the facts shows that while the paramilitaries on both sides were solely about taking life, the police and the army were doing their best to protect it.

It seems that the republican movement in particular can never forgive the police and the army for stopping them from murdering more than 2,000 people, or injuring thousands more or causing billions of pounds of damage to the economy.

Violence was a method that was never going to bring the two parts of Ireland together, or make Northern Ireland a happier home for nationalists.

Our society’s future must be built upon that mutual recognition and then at least we can say to the families of Loughinisland, what happened to you will never again happen to others.

I sat in my kitchen and cried the night of the Loughinisland massacre and they should know that the vast majority of us, from all backgrounds across our society, did the same and feel for them.

However association with Sinn Fein contaminates the purity of their campaign.

Trevor Ringland, Holywood, Co Down

Ben Lowry: Judge standing aside in Loughinisland is astonishing

Doug Beattie: Perceptions of bias a fact of life in NI

Jim Allister: If anyone should be considering their position, it’s the Ombudsman

The full 8,000 word judgment from Mr Justice McCloskey

(Click here for a shorter report on the ruling)