Martin Galvin  📰 with a letter that appeared in yesterday's Irish News 

Chris Heaton-Harris claims Britain is pushing its Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill “to achieve better outcomes” in legacy cases. 

Certainly the British will expect to achieve better outcomes from their appointed Commission than those they get at inquests like Ballymurphy, Ombudsman Investigations such as Operation Achille, civil cases like the Miami Showband lawsuit, or Criminal trials like the McAnespie murder verdict. One can only imagine how bad the outcomes might get, if Britain ever allowed a genuine Historical Investigations Unit along lines prescribed in European Court cases and promised in the Stormont House Agreement.

There is no mystery why so little progress has been made in erasing the legacy backlog twenty-five years after Good Friday Agreement promises to honor victims by vindicating the human rights of all. If the British government wanted legacy truth, it would not need inquests to uncover whether British troopers had opened fire without justification at Springhill, or New Lodge. They would not need an Ombudsman investigation to tell them where payments were made to British agents and informers involved in collusion murders. It would not need a Barnard Review to discover if out of bounds notices were given to clear crown patrols so that the Glenanne killers could carry out murder and escape.

Victims’ relatives have persisted because they are confident their claims are true. The British government fought them at every turn. Deny the truth, until the truth becomes undeniable. Delay legacy inquests, ombudsman reports or other legal paths to justice, until no further delays are possible. Wait for survivors, eyewitnesses or close family members to die, and hope others lose heart. Block progress in legacy cases, and then claim the lack of progress proves no progress can be made.

Meanwhile British officials keep repeating that crown forces were responsible for only 10% of the north's killings, washing their hands of joint enterprise complicity in collusion murders by paid agents. Whenever justice breaks through, these officials lament with hollow words like "vexatious prosecutions" or "rewriting history," as if it were annoying or unfair that victims, like those of the Ballymurphy Massacre, be exonerated from the smears used to justify their murder.

The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill should be understood as Britain’s admission of guilt. British officials know the facts and are afraid to face the verdicts of their own courts, inquests, Ombudsmen etc. They must change the rules, so Britain can get better outcomes in spite of the facts.

Albert Einstein is believed to have said that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. It does not take a genius to see it would be crazy for victims’ relatives to give up their rights to every legal channel that has worked for them, and trust a commission set up by the same British government that has tried to deny them truth at every turn.

Martin Galvin is long time
Irish American activist.

Better Outcomes For Britain

Martin Galvin  📰 with a letter that appeared in yesterday's Irish News 

Chris Heaton-Harris claims Britain is pushing its Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill “to achieve better outcomes” in legacy cases. 

Certainly the British will expect to achieve better outcomes from their appointed Commission than those they get at inquests like Ballymurphy, Ombudsman Investigations such as Operation Achille, civil cases like the Miami Showband lawsuit, or Criminal trials like the McAnespie murder verdict. One can only imagine how bad the outcomes might get, if Britain ever allowed a genuine Historical Investigations Unit along lines prescribed in European Court cases and promised in the Stormont House Agreement.

There is no mystery why so little progress has been made in erasing the legacy backlog twenty-five years after Good Friday Agreement promises to honor victims by vindicating the human rights of all. If the British government wanted legacy truth, it would not need inquests to uncover whether British troopers had opened fire without justification at Springhill, or New Lodge. They would not need an Ombudsman investigation to tell them where payments were made to British agents and informers involved in collusion murders. It would not need a Barnard Review to discover if out of bounds notices were given to clear crown patrols so that the Glenanne killers could carry out murder and escape.

Victims’ relatives have persisted because they are confident their claims are true. The British government fought them at every turn. Deny the truth, until the truth becomes undeniable. Delay legacy inquests, ombudsman reports or other legal paths to justice, until no further delays are possible. Wait for survivors, eyewitnesses or close family members to die, and hope others lose heart. Block progress in legacy cases, and then claim the lack of progress proves no progress can be made.

Meanwhile British officials keep repeating that crown forces were responsible for only 10% of the north's killings, washing their hands of joint enterprise complicity in collusion murders by paid agents. Whenever justice breaks through, these officials lament with hollow words like "vexatious prosecutions" or "rewriting history," as if it were annoying or unfair that victims, like those of the Ballymurphy Massacre, be exonerated from the smears used to justify their murder.

The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill should be understood as Britain’s admission of guilt. British officials know the facts and are afraid to face the verdicts of their own courts, inquests, Ombudsmen etc. They must change the rules, so Britain can get better outcomes in spite of the facts.

Albert Einstein is believed to have said that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. It does not take a genius to see it would be crazy for victims’ relatives to give up their rights to every legal channel that has worked for them, and trust a commission set up by the same British government that has tried to deny them truth at every turn.

Martin Galvin is long time
Irish American activist.

1 comment:

  1. The Brits will always do what is good for them and not for their victims.
    My opposition to any more prosecutions is that it will lead to former republican activists of the Bobby Sands/Mickey Devine generation being prosecuted in no jury British courts and sent to jail. Why would any republican support that?

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