The speculation is that the Public Prosecution Service has decided not to prosecute the ex-RUC and PSNI officers criticised in O’Loan’s report because of insufficient evidence. If this is correct, this leaves the civil courts as the remaining route for redress. The report will be released tomorrow. The primary impact will of course be upon the families of the victims. However it is likely to feed into the lively policing debate in the nationalist community.
Republican opponents will probably argue it proves the police are irreformable and inherently sectarian with Sinn Fein countering that it proves the need to make the police accountable and to have control “in Ireland”. The fact some of those criticised in the report are still serving in the PSNI will bring one part of Sinn Fein’s AF motion into particular focus:
Ensure Sinn Fein representatives robustly support the demands for…to ensure that there is no place in the PSNI for those guilty of human rights abuses
As the report focuses on inteliigence gathering, the SDLP may raise the concerns about the accountability of MI5 too.
Government will take a battering but most likely argue the new structures mean it can’t happen again and in terms of the political process that the past shouldn’t stop progress. Despite not being responsible for security since 1972 Unionism will probably not let the focus rest where it should with government and try and offer a dissipatory defence about ‘bad apples’, the debt everyone owes to the security forces etc.
My apologies but I am feeling very cynical this morning.