The Historical Enquiries Team (HET) categorically states that it isn’t part of any political or ‘truth and reconciliation’ process. That may be, but as the only ship on the water, it’s uncomfortable jetsam is washing up on our shores every now and again.
Two of the latest stories emanating from HET will no doubt be dismissed on the basis of their relative merits on the whataboutery scale, or, as simply unwanted dredging up of the past.
In the first case, undercover soldiers were watching a shopping centre where they believed the IRA were storing explosives and witnessed the murder of 17 year old Damien Walsh by the UFF. The soldiers say they were too far away to intervene but radioed the RUC to give details of the car used in the getaway, although they managed to get both the make and model wrong. Inept? Incompetent? Innocent?
That pales in comparison to the second case. It appears that the gun used in various UFF attacks, including the one Sean Grahams that left five dead in 1992 had been given back to them by the RUC.
What this makes more baffling is the fact that Mark Rice, sentenced to 20 years for his part in 1993, actually was charged with possession of the other gun used in the attack, not the pistol.
The HET don’t read anything sinister into giving the UFF a gun, but rather charitably describe the RUC’s actions as “… a significant failure and the repercussions were tragic and devastating.”
Such revealations will no doubt prompt some to demand more information, while others will insist that dealing with the past will be difficult and painful. Either way, I’m going to give the last hollow words to the RUC Chief Constable, Sir Hugh Annelsey, who offered this at scene:
“This is a very serious murder, but this is not an out-of-control situation. We will pursue it with utter vigour.”