Ringland Blames The Victims

Martin Galvin, a New York Attorney-At-Law with a complete version of his letter in the Irish News earlier this week.

Re: Trevor Ringland - For a change let's put innocent
victims first Irish News August 24, 2017

A chara,

Trevor Ringland wants a Thatcher-like compromise to fund Troubles victims' pensions. Thatcher proposed to end H-Block brutality, if Republican political prisoners accepted costumes that made criminals of themselves and their struggle. Now Mr. Ringland proposes to end the DUP holdup on victims' funds, if Sinn Fein excludes severely injured Republicans, thereby making criminals of these victims and their struggle.

Mr. Ringland seems less worried about helping victims win pensions than using victims to win political points. Why should Republicans submit to this bullying? His idea is a sad reminder of the scornful arrogance at the heart of the collapse of Stormont.

The statutory definition of injured victims includes everyone who was physically or psychologically injured as a result of or in consequence of a conflict related incident. Implicit in this definition was acceptance that Republicans, were among the victims. A family member of a slain IRA Volunteer served as a Victims Commissioner, alongside the widow of an RUC Reservist, a nationalist mediator and unionist television commentator.

Mr. Ringland says funds for 400 injured Troubles victims are blocked because there is "no agreement" about including 6 loyalists and 4 severely injured Republicans as victims. When did the DUP worry about paying loyalists? Mr. Ringland means the DUP are holding 400 victims hostage to brand Republican victims and the Republican struggle as criminal perpetrators. He says pay the ransom demands, adding "is it too much to ask?"

Despite years of peace and power-sharing, Mr. Ringland, like the DUP, can see no moral Republican viewpoint or honorable motives in those who fought to end British rule.

He imagines a conflict pitting the blameless British against Republican villains. Former members of the IRA, elected representatives and Stormont ministers included, wanted only "to take life and cause destruction". British crown forces shot down innocents in Ballymurphy or on Bloody Sunday, tortured political prisoners, or paid criminal loyalist agents like Robin Jackson to carry out hundreds of murders, only "to save lives and prevent damage."

Mr. Ringland typifies the disdainful arrogance at Stormont towards Republicans and anyone they elect. Once former Stormont head David Trimble spoke of representatives elected by the Republican community coming to be "house trained".

Years of peace, power-sharing and unrequited reconciliation seem to have hardened such attitudes. Today the DUP uses 4 severely disabled victims as a leash to pull Republicans back from thinking even our victims will ever get their respect or compassion.


Martin Galvin

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

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