Villiers Era of Side Deals

Martin Galvin with a letter from the Irish News 10 June 2014.

A chara,

British colonial secretary Theresa Villiers said in a speech to the constabulary federation (28th May) the crown wants a “balanced, transparent and accountable” mechanism to deal with the past, “that puts the needs of victims first and enables us to put the era of side deals behind us”. The irony of these words at this venue before this audience is patently clear. 
Nationalists mark a British “era of side deals” dating back to April 1969, when RUC invaded the Devanney home in Derry in search of rioters. Finding no rioters, the RUC made do with those at hand, beating Sammy Devanney so brutally that his death several months later from the injuries inflicted is regarded as the first killing of the conflict.

When the RUC refused to name or charge perpetrators from within its ranks, British officials feigned inability to breach the “conspiracy of silence.” Nationalists recognized a cover-up, understanding that if British officials wanted justice, they would have used control of RUC pay, pensions and prosecutions to get justice.

It was merely an early example of what Villiers today terms a “side deal” gifting a one-sided immunity or impunity to British troopers or constabulary members, like those represented by the federation hosting her speech.

Decades later, we have witnessed less than a handful of British Army regular troopers and constabulary convicted of line of duty or collusion murders, like the Ballymurphy Massacre or Bloody Sunday or Sammy Devanney. Clearly the British kept their impunity side deal with crown forces far better than agreements they put in writing at places like Weston Park.

Villiers’ self-righteous words bear no resemblance to her actions. The Dublin-Monaghan bombing families must sue the British crown to pry out mounting evidence of British collusion and cover-up. The Ballymurphy Massacre Families must go to the courts to shed light on the identity and culpability of the troopers who shot down their loved ones. Families in east Tyrone are pursuing an array of legal proceedings to uncover the proof that crown forces cooperated with loyalists to murder their loved ones. The crown spares no effort to pursue the Boston College tapes, but makes no effort to pursue BBC Panorama tapes of Military Reaction Force members boasting of shooting unarmed nationalists.

Victims were promised transparency, accountability, and putting their needs first. Victims then got stonewalled to twist the facts to fit Villiers’ English rose colored rewrite of history. 

The dark side of British policing is not some uncontrollable clique within the constabulary who defy the British regime. The dark side is the undeclared impunity side deal which comes right from the top of that British regime!

No comments