Twelfth message: Remember – 90% of Troubles killings were by terrorists
The following is the full, unedited address which Orange Deputy Grand Master Harold Henning had prepared, in the hope of delivering it during a full-scale Twelfth (postponed until next year while the pandemic peters out):
There is growing speculation that the UK Government is preparing to declare what will effectively be an amnesty relating to all killings in Northern Ireland
Whilst this may bring relief to some, it brings nothing but further pain and frustration to many others.
Such a development offers protection for perpetrators but extinguishes any hope of truth and justice for those innocents who have been wronged.
The Orange Institution fully endorses bringing an end to the vexatious pursuit of elderly military personnel who have been exposed to a cycle of re-investigations in the absence of any new or substantial evidence.
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Furthermore, policy makers need to ensure that military personnel who lived and served at home in Northern Ireland along with their colleagues in the Royal Ulster Constabulary are also protected from excessive, politically motivated investigations.
In the simplest of terms – if an individual committed a crime, regardless of their motivation or background, they must be held accountable to the law.
However, there can be no equivocation or sweeping parallel drawn between those terrorists who lifted a weapon or primed a bomb with pre-mediated murder and destruction in mind – and those whose primary motivation was to maintain the peace and to serve and protect our entire community.
Every terrorist action was illegal and legislation to draw a line under the past will only further help to sanitize the actions of evil men.
We should never lose sight of the statistical fact that terrorists were responsible for 90% of all deaths, and the security forces for 10% - many of which were terrorists, killed whilst engaging in their murderous activities.
The so called ‘peace process’ in Northern Ireland has already rode roughshod over the notion of justice for the innocent victims’ community, including the early release of convicted terrorists and secret on the run letters.
These have already effectively delivered amnesty and a new life for some of the perpetrators of the most heinous crimes in our history.
et in many Ulster homes, widows and children of the victims of terrorists will receive no such parole to their life sentence of anguish and loss.
The vast majority of murders relating to 339 members of the Orange Institution remain unsolved – yet the faintest hope that one day justice might yet prevail sustains a strength and determination amongst the families left behind.
These innocent victims, regardless of how slim the likelihood is of a successful outcome must be allowed to retain the expectation that justice will prevail.
The Orange Institution remains committed to ensuring that the history of the needless and unjustified campaign of domestic terror waged on our country is not re-written by those who wrought so much pain and destruction on our community.
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