Deny Them Inquests Says Mr Ringland

Martin Galvin, a New York Attorney at Law, with a letter published in the Irish News in response to a call from Trevor Ringland to suspend inquests into state killings in the North.

A chara,

Trevor Ringland makes a bold proposal to deal with problematic legacy inquests.(State has obligation to investigate all murders. September 13th)Suspend legacy inquests in deference to unsolved killings of British crown forces. By 'suspended' he appears to mean 'binned'.

Mr. Ringland is offended by the notion of funding 56 cases, involving 97 deaths, among them 22 cases more than 40 years old. After all, why afford any justice to victims of controversial killings by the British Army, Royal Ulster Constabulary and in cases where collusion with their loyalist agents is charged?

He complains such inquests are being 'fast-tracked.' One wonders what would make for a slow-track in cases like the 'Ballymurphy Massacre', now 45 years past. 

"It is surely unfair", says Mr. Ringland to tackle this backlog when there are unsolved cases outstanding. Meanwhile grieving families of the legacy cases believe their loved ones were not alone murdered, but were then victims of an orchestrated whitewash, where lies were concocted and put out to justify murder. They believe that the legal procedures created to protect innocent victims were perverted to give impunity to British crown forces.

Estimates vary about the numbers imprisoned under charges or internment for Republican actions that took place between 1969-1998.Let us for the sake of argument put the number 15,000.Add apparent instances of shoot-to-kill in summary retribution for these unsolved killings. There did not seem to be any want of trying,( with possible exceptions for protected British agents like Freddie Scappaticci), to solve unsolved killings of British troops and constabulary. 

The legacy cases were not unsolved killings. Those who carried out those killings can be identified. These murders were apparently whitewashed or covered-up in the name of British law and order. Why would the British be so unwilling to allow inquests which proved them justified? 

Mr. Ringland says that Irish nationalism insisted on a deal which put 60% of those he terms "perpetrators beyond the law."

Denying funds for the legacy inquests appears to prove that the British have put 100% of their line-of-duty uniformed perpetrators beyond the law.

James Brokenshire told the Ballymurphy families, that he requires Arlene Foster's permission to fund legacy inquests. His excuse is a blatant sham. Where is Martin McGuinness' veto on paying the cost of imprisoning Tony Taylor?

Mr. Ringland says that "violence should never have been used in the past." We need not argue here whether British rule in Ireland began with and has always used violence. Stalling or denying these legacy inquests will be seen by the victims' loved ones as the latest stamp of approval for violence and murders by British forces.


                                   Martin Galvin

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