Victims Group: The Stormont House legacy proposals do not focus enough on terrorism

Our organisation holds a consistent policy on criminal violence whether perpetrated by terrorists or individual members of the security forces.

Monday, 18th March 2019, 10:13 pm
Updated Monday, 18th March 2019, 10:51 pm
Kenny Donaldson, spokesman for Innocent Victims United, in front of a quilt made by family members from Fermanagh that have lost loved ones through the Troubles

We walk a very lonely path in Northern Ireland but we believe in standing by what is right.

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has found that tests have been met for ‘Soldier F’ to face prosecution for two deaths and a number of other attempted killings, the law must now run its’ course.

It is deeply regrettable that sufficient evidence was deemed to not exist to allow for the prosecutions of those terrorists on the streets of Londonderry/Derry on that fateful day, who were there to agitate and use civilians as human shields.

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It needs restating that the overwhelming majority of the security forces performed their role with honour, integrity and immense restraint.

However as is the case across the world, military and policing personnel are often faced with volatile situations where operational decisions and/or actions are taken which when applying hindsight sometimes could and should have been different.

This case and today’s PPS direction does bring into focus the anger with which the broad security force constituency feel around how the criminal justice system has been ‘bastardised’ over the last 20+ years to placate terrorism and its political voices, whether that be On The Run Comfort letters, Royal Prerogatives of Mercy or the wider appeasement agenda of the Provisional movement by the UK government.

Many government and other defence representatives are today flexing their muscles and are questioning the decision of the PPS but the real test of their concerns on these issues will be their will or otherwise to insist that the legacy structures as proposed within the Stormont House ‘Dis’Agreement are radically overhauled so that emphasis is not solely upon the state.

Those Stormont House legacy proposals MUST not be legislated for as they currently stand, very substantive structural changes are needed.

Instead terrorism which was responsible for 90% of Troubles related deaths (deaths which were as a result of criminal murder) must come under focus.

In all these issues we require honesty and generosity, we need consistency to be shown across the board, and more so we need people to be willing to account for wrongs inflicted, to apologise, to show remorse and to restitute through living life without seeking to justify, glorify or explain away actions which they know in their hearts to be wrong no matter how much their heads may try to deceive them.

• Kenny Donaldson is spokesman for Innocent Victims United