What other country would have shown such restraint during the Troubles?

A lone RUC policeman runs into the scene of the IRA bomb attack at Randalstown
A lone RUC policeman runs into the scene of the IRA bomb attack at Randalstown
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Let me voice my disgust at Tuesday’s BBC2 Politics Live piece on investigations into Troubles veterans.

I felt disgraced that only one of the panel of guests – Johnny Mercer MP – had done any sort of research into the prior police investigations, or had an iota of the context and psychopathic killing spree that was the Troubles!

Overall, we had the one-sided, do-gooder placations and platitudes.

It was akin to a self-indulgent colonial guilt trip of an English society blindly offering up sacrificial lambs to cleanse their souls – the sacrificial lambs being those RUC, UDR part-time soldiers and regular British Army that miraculously, against all the odds (a view held at the time by other western democracies and institutions including the FBI) held the ‘thin green line’ between democracy and the Republican and Loyalist objective to carve up Northern Ireland for themselves, and themselves alone!

It is worth remembering that the “armed struggle” ideology would be outlawed in any 20th or 21st century western society. How would the USA or any other European State have responded to the degree of Republican or Loyalist violence inflicted on the United Kingdom and its people? Not nearly as restrained as ‘the thin green line’, by gauging the response to the Boston bombers!

We all need an urgent process that has at its heart

1) All those Catholic and Protestant ordinary folk, thankfully who throughout the Troubles vastly outnumber those involved in terrorism or inflammatory politics, and who ironically paid the highest cost from daily bombings and shootings, intimidation, and lethal threats within their own communities by their so called paramilitary protectors;

2) A repudiation of the legitimacy of the armed struggle by Republicans;

3) An acknowledgement by Loyalist paramilitaries that they predominantly acted as random murder gangs and are promoting the collusion myth (that they acted with the state) to justify their actions.

Alan McFarland, Lisburn