Re: Trevor Ringland (We should all make an effort to deal with legacy proposals-July 28th)
It is remarkable that Trevor Ringland has so little sympathy for nationalist perspectives, yet expects us to heed his directives. His latest letter concludes with a reference to Trojan King Priam kissing the hands of the Greek warrior Achilles, and pleading for the return of his son’s body. (We should all make an effort to engage with legacy proposals-July 28th) Mr. Ringland misses the irony of using this metaphor to tell bereaved relatives pleading for truth about murdered sons and daughters, to embrace a legacy plan by the same British government, which they believe carried out or colluded in these murders.
Mr. Ringland thinks there is so much anger at the British amnesty plan “because it made clear that justice would be difficult to deliver.” In fact, victims’ families are angry, because they feel the British are blocking the delivery of justice to keep the truth buried along with their victims.
The Ballymurphy Massacre Inquest proved that despite the passage of time the truth about many legacy killings can be delivered. Nearly half a century passed from the killings until the inquest verdict. Numerous civilian witnesses not only came forward, but welcomed the chance to testify. Judge Siobhan Keegan had no difficulty in finding the facts and rendering a comprehensive verdict. If there is anything still lacking it would be the failure of the PSNI Constabulary to commence an investigation into the unlawful killings of a Catholic priest, a grandmother and eight others.
Bereaved relatives like the Springhill Massacre or New Lodge Six families, or those listed for Ombudsman Investigations have waited their turn, and seemed on the cusp of getting justice for their loved ones. They are angry because they see the British government taking away legal mechanisms which worked for other families.
Mr. Ringland thinks it “grossly unfair” that there are so many civil actions against the British government for acts carried out by British crown forces. Presumably, as a solicitor, he knows the crown need only pay damages, where murders, beatings, or other acts committed by British forces were unlawful. Why does he blame Irish victims who suffered wrongful acts at the hands of British crown forces for merely seeking redress in British courts, instead of those who inflicted illegal acts in the service of British rule?
Lastly those familiar with the story, will recall that the warrior Achilles felt compassion for Priam and mercifully granted the bereaved king’s plea. Sadly the British government shows no such compassion for Irish victims, continuing to ram through its legacy cover-up bill despite bereaved families’ pleas for justice and truth.