Who is the British Establishment really seeking to protect with the announcement the Government has confirmed it intends to bring forward legislation to ban all prosecutions related to the Northern Ireland Troubles, which saw a death toll of around 3,500 people - thousands more injured - over the three decades of conflict?
If Boris Johnston thought his Prime Minister’s Questions bombshell that the legacy proposals would allow Northern Ireland to “draw a line under the Troubles”, he may have inadvertently opened a fresh can of political worms.
The Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis attempted to let the public - especially in Northern Ireland - down gently by telling Parliament it was a decision not taken lightly.
Some victims’ groups and the five main parties which comprise the Stormont power-sharing Executive have expressed opposition to the proposals.
Mr Lewis has maintained it was “the best way to help Northern Ireland move further along the road to reconciliation”.
In his Commons statement, he outlined a “statute of limitations, to apply equally to all Troubles-related incidents”.
It is understood it would apply to former members of the security forces as well as ex-paramilitaries.
A statute of limitations is a law which prevents legal proceedings being taken after a certain period of time.
The plans also include an end to all legacy inquests and civil actions related to the conflict.
From a personal point of view, I now don’t get to find out the names of the Provisional IRA gang which murdered my police reservist cousin Arthur Henderson - a 31-year-old married man - on 8 October 1974 in the picturesque County Tyrone village of Stewartstown.
He was investigating a suspicious car in the village and when he pulled on the door handle, the IRA detonated a booby-trap bomb killing Arthur instantly. He had been a member of the RUC Reserve for four years, but no one has ever been jailed for his murder.
Opponents of the statute of limitations see it as a total amnesty for terrorist killers. Many from the republican community see it as an amnesty for British security forces veterans.
For conspiracy theorists, the statute prevents investigations into the intelligence community’s use of informers and agents within the ranks of the terrorist gangs; it prevents probes into allegations of collusion between loyalist death squads and the security forces.
In short, it keeps the lid firmly placed on that intelligence community’s ‘war on terror’ during the Troubles, often dubbed ‘The Dirty War’. It prevents the answers to awkward questions around ‘how many people could have been saved if information from agents was acted upon?’
And the more point question - ‘how many terrorist attacks, including shootings, bombings and murders, were known about in advance, but allowed to take place to protect those agents working for the security forces?’
But what is really needed is not a muzzle on the past as this ‘statute’ appears to being branded, but a Truth and Reconciliation Commission as existed in South Africa after the ending of apartheid.
While many families in Ireland affected by the Troubles may want justice for the loss of their loved ones, others would see closure as simply knowing who was physically responsible and did the planning for the deaths of their loved ones.
Generally speaking, the South African TRC has worked - so why can’t a UK TRC be implemented instead? As it stands, the proposed UK legacy legislation has merely established a new political can opener for a can of worms which could add further destabilisation to an already shaky Irish peace process.
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Listen to commentator Dr John Coulter’s programme, Call In Coulter, every Saturday morning around 10.15 am on Belfast’s Christian radio station, Sunshine 1049 FM. Listen online.