David Simpson is reported in Saturday’s News Letter calling for a Saville style commission to look into the role of the RoI in the Troubles and specifically the arming, training, sheltering etc. of the IRA. Simpson points out that:
“The claim has always been made that since it was the state that was involved in the events of Bloody Sunday that made it different and necessitated the obtaining of the truth and justified the massive expenditure.”
He draws the parallel that the RoI state is accused of involvement and as such a there is a similar imperative to investigate it.
“UK citizens were tortured by the Provisional IRA,” he said. “The Provisional IRA shot and wounded, and blew up and injured many UK citizens. They murdered many, many hundreds of UK citizens.
“The Provisional IRA were assisted in their creation and arming by elements in the southern government. The southern government also served as a safe haven from which the PIRA operated and repeatedly dragged its heels over extradition.”
“UK citizens deserve the protection of their own government and deserve to know the truth,”
The problem is that as he rightly says the British government has “looked the other way” over this issue. Furthermore it would be difficult for the British government to investigate the RoI government and it would certainly raise howls of protest from the RoI. The alternative might be for the RoI government to investigate the allegations. However, the arms trial showed the problems with that and the Smithwick tribunal looking at one case of potential collusion between the Garda and the IRA (over the murders of Harry Breen and Bob Buchannan) has achieved very little.
This may be a nine day wonder as a reaction to Saville and it may soon be back to the likes of Willie Frazer trying to sue McGuinness as the only significant attempts by unionists to make an issue over the innumerable unanswered questions from the IRA’s terror campaign. However, if these issues continue to be pursued, Sinn Fein and the RoI government may have to address the issue rather than in SF’s case come out with the following:
“Willie Frazer is irrelevant and a serial failed political figure. His views have been rejected by the people in the Westminster election and Sinn Fein has better things to worry about.”
If such dismissive remarks had been made about the relative of a Bloody Sunday victim Sinn Fein would (rightly) have been up in arms. However, Willie Frazer (no matter how odd or mad he may seem to be) as one of the few unionists to continue a very public campaign about the murder of his relatives has been serially vilified by republicans and ignored by most unionists and others. The inequity of that situation suggests most eloquently the hierarchy of victimhood in Northern Ireland.