Whilst it may not be particularly good form to speak ill of the dead, I think it is worth noting that one of the Shankill Butchers, William Moore, died last week, (he was buried on Thursday). At his trial the judge Mr Justice O’Donnell told him: “You pleaded guilty to 11 murders carried out in a manner so cruel and revolting as to be beyond the comprehension of any normal human being.
“I’m satisfied that, without you, many of the murders would not have been committed… I see no reason whatsoever, apart from terminal illness, why you should ever be released.” He suggested an absolute minimum of 35 years imprisonment.
Of course Mr. Moore, like so many other criminals who committed extremely wrong acts, was released early. In Moore’s case after 19 years. According to the Belfast Telegraph he subsequently became involved in further criminality. Of course Mr. Moore is not alone in being a convicted murderer, released early on licence who returned to criminality. The list includes Stephen Irwin one of the Greysteel murderers.
At the time the system of justice was turned on its head and all these individuals released, it was explained that their crimes were because of the conflict and that without the conflict they would not have been criminals. These claims seem to have been refuted by the subsequent actions of a number of those released.
It is of course bad enough that murderers were released long before the appropriate time. However, there is worse to come. As I noted some months ago the Eames Bradley report contained more than just the loathsome £12,000 payment; it also suggested that the Quigley Hamilton working group on ex terrorists be given the force of law. To quote part of Quigley Hamilton.
2.6…a conviction arising from the conflict should not bar an applicant from obtaining employment, facilities, and goods or services unless that conviction is manifestly incompatible with the job, facility or service in question. The onus of demonstrating incompatibility would, in the view of the group, rest with whoever was alleging it and the seriousness of the offence would not, per se constitute adequate grounds
2.7The report where an applicant is ruled out of consideration at any stage he/she should be given the opportunity to outline his/her perspective before a final decision is taken.
It must be made very clear therefore that Lord Eames believes that in the case of the Shankill Butchers and the Greysteel murderers; having already been released long before due time, their evil acts should not be held against them in practically any circumstances. Indeed the onus is on any of us to demonstrate why we feel they are unsuitable for employment and furthermore we cannot point to their murderous acts as evidence.
As I have said throughout Eames Bradley is not fit for purpose and this election campaign and its aftermath must not be used as a smokescreen to push through their lazily thought out and morally vacuous report. The removal of the £12,000 should fool no one into accepting this document.