“That is if this place ever has a process of truth and reconciliation.”

In the Belfast Telegraph Brian Rowan picks up on NI Police Ombudsman Al Hutchison’s comments following the publication of the Claudy report.  Al Hutchison was, let’s not forget, repeating himself…  From the Belfast Telegraph article

The Ombudsman has more than a hundred historical cases sitting on his desk — work he estimates will take fifty years to complete. And if this is left in his office and left with the Historical Enquiries Team, then the reality is that many people will never have their answers.

That suits those who have buried the secrets of war and hidden themselves from responsibility.

So it is clear what Al Hutchinson is trying to do. He is explaining what his office can and cannot do — saying out loud that he and his team cannot operate as a substitute Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

And he is telling those who have political responsibility that the past needs to be dealt with in some structured rather than piecemeal fashion. That means we need some straight answers.

What is happening with the Eames/Bradley report? What does Secretary of State Owen Paterson mean when he says: “Simply ‘drawing a line’ is not an option?” If that means the Government is prepared to do something, what is it?

And we need to know what answers the IRA, loyalist groups, security forces and governments are prepared to bring to some table of explanation. If they are not prepared to step forward, then there is no point having a Legacy Commission — or some half-truth process.

Just don’t expect justice to feature.  That’s “the price of velvet”, apparently…

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  • Cynic

    But where will there ever be truth when its one sided?

    Perhaps we should simply make all the intelligence files available so everyone can see what the intelligence is on who did what and who was a tout and who wasn’t? My, see how they would ruin. And all those by-elections!!!

  • JAH

    South Africa managed it. It’s no paragon but at least it managed to accept the past and move on.

    We are still using events in 17th Century to beat each other up

    But I also think there a lot of people who would like to clear the air, to sleep at night. The nightmares wont end, but closure would be good to everyone.

    Time is also catching up: I was just going the Secondary School when the troubles started and now I’m counting down to retirement!

  • Alias

    It highlights a deficiency in international law: there is a right within the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that justice should be administrated fairly by the State, but there is no actual right to justice. What that means is that the State must not pervert justice if it initiates but there is no obligation on the State to initiate it, so folks mistakenly assume that that have a ‘right to justice’ under international law which means that the State must deliver justice on their behalf or fall foul of international law. They have no such right, and the State does not have any obligation to initiate justice proceedings even when prima facie evidence is presented. The international law needs to be amended so that regimes cannot have any discretion, and cannot therefore string the victims along.

  • Alias

    The shorthand version of the above: if a ‘right to justice’ was added to the international law then the British government would not be able to deny justice to it citizens.

  • Nunoftheabove

    It is the right – indeed duty – of the citizen to hold the state accountable for its actions and for the truth. And all citizens should retain the utmost suspicion of ‘their’ state where it refuses to provide it, is unable to provide it, or seeks to suppress it or distort its revelation. We do need to fight for it and shouldn’t expect it, which is one of the differences between the UK and the Free State (and other places) and most Islamic states – where there is neither the expectation of it, any rational basis for establishing it, still less any basis upon which to fight for it …without dire consequences.

  • Alan Maskey

    Maybe there is hope. The above site is worth perusing oin full. Note the chairperson is a particarly liberal Belfast Prod cleric (dog collars have their uses), that the Sticks have got support from almost all poitical parties on our beloved island and that Garland, who led the Brookborough attack, also gets the boys of the old brigade to pose with him; the ex Sticks in the Labour Party are noticable absentees.

    So there is hope which, with faith and charity, can move mountains. People must come forward in a proper forum. But, as Garland shows, there are always wheels within wheels.

    Nunoftheabove: you are being a trifle unkind to what oyu refer to as “Islamic states”.

    Willie Fraser is often attacked and ridiculed on this site. But his site is informative and he is playing a good role. Others could step up to the plate to counterbalance him.

    The dead have their rights as the living have; injustice to them is one of the worst forms of all injustice. (THOMAS D’ARCY MCGEE)

    ps: McGee was an Irish nationalist, Fenian basher and Canadian father, the only one to be assassinated, by a Fenian or by a Brit agent, we don’t know.

  • Cynic

    What a stunning collection of wannabees, old buffers, yesterday’s men and leftie no-hopers. That will rock Westminster and Washington. I will bet Obama’s having sleepless nights

  • wild turkey

    and if one of yours was greased tomorrow… would that make you yesterdays man? a leftie trendie old buffer? or just another limp dicked accepting cynic?

    or just someone who has incurred a greivous loss… and lost no sleep?

    “Indeed i tremble for my country when i reflectthat god is just… and he cannot sleep forever”

    Thomas Jefferson

    obviously you can sleep… with the fishes?

  • The Raven

    I was always against the whole T&R Forum for here, but after all that emerged about Claudy, I wonder if it’s not time for everyone to move forward in that direction.

    The only problem, given my own prejudices and community background, is this: could I ever believe that MMcG or Gerry would take the stand and actually tell the whole truth? Our individual hatreds are such, that even if Marty was asked “did you order this or that”, and he truthfully replied “no”, we’d never believe him. You can equally substitute what I’ve written with British Government/ex-RUC/British Army.

    I don’t think I could ever cross the rubicon of actually believing that “everything” would ever be completely in the open.

  • Alan Maskey

    Raven: Thank you for mentioning two of the main players. The truth must out.
    I wonder whn garland had a brew with the other Brookeborough IRA survivors, did thy assess the last 50 odd years since that momentous battle. They are now all older and hteir ofrmer leader, who “did hisd bit” in Operation Harvest, faces extradition to the USA. I wonder will he be as lucky as the Colombian bird watchers who got such notable independents as Ms Ruane to bat for them.

    It is, to say the least, strange, that the former Sticks who are now bigwigs in the Labour Partry did not put their names down. P de Rossa was, after all, in North Korea with Mr Garland. Fair play, I suppose to Adams who did the right PR thing. But what hope of reconciliation is there when a Euriocrat like de Rossa canot do a small favour for an old mate down on his luck.

    The Protestant liberals are also interesting and thy seem to back any and all causes, which is not a bad thing in itself. They are also scratching into Protestants killed in the South by the IRA during the Tan war. Again, not a bad thing. There has not been closure on that yet.,

  • tacapall

    The full truth will never be outed about what went on in this country during the past conflict all we will get is the version that suits those in power at Westminister and Stormont the no-bodies will be labelled while the puppet masters will be kept clean. If GA cant/wont admit he was an IRA volunteer or enact investigations into the deaths of IRA personnel, executed for being accused of working for the British by British agents within the IRA, hand picked by Gerry and the leadership, then what hope do others outside of the republican movement have. The same goes for the British Government, fk knows how many agents they had in the IRA, UDA, UVF, INLA, LVF, etc at grassroots and leadership level allowing their own personnel and civilians to be murdered to suit their own agenda. The armchair generals on all sides are now very rich men and women and I dont think they want to change that fact.