“Given these circumstances we believe the soldiers used reasonable force.”

After 8 weeks of evidence, and 3 days of deliberation, a Belfast jury has delivered their verdict in the inquest into the deaths of Provisional IRA members Dessie Grew and Martin McCaughey in County Armagh in 1990.  The Detail’s Barry McCaffrey recounts some of the legal arguments from the inquest before reporting the verdict.

Shortly after 2pm the foreman of the jury, identified only as C13, told coroner Brian Sherrard that they had reached agreement on the facts of the killings.

In a devastating blow to the dead men’s families, who’d sat through eight weeks of evidence, the jury ruled that the IRA men’s own actions had contributed to their deaths and that the SAS had used “reasonable force” during the events that led to the fatal shootings.

“Mr Grew and Mr McCaughey put their lives in danger by being in the area of the sheds in the vicinity of a stolen car, which was expected to be used in terrorist activity,” the verdict stated.

“They were both armed with guns, wearing gloves and balaclavas and were approaching soldiers who believed that their lives were in immediate danger.”

Earlier in the case Ms Quinlivan had said the Grew and McCaughey families accepted that their loved ones had been on IRA ‘active service’ and had therefore left themselves liable to arrest, prosecution and imprisonment.

However the families’ barrister argued that the shooting of the two men as they lay dying on the ground had been a deliberate SAS coup-de-gras and was evidence of a state sanctioned summary execution.

Despite these claims the jury ruled that soldier ‘D’ had been justified in shooting Dessie Grew as he lay dying.

“Soldier ‘D’ fired two shots at close quarters into Mr Grew.

“Soldier ‘D’ perceived that Mr Grew was a threat when he opened the door of the mushroom sheds and Mr Grew emitted a noise and he thought Mr Grew moved towards his gun.”

Dismissing claims that forensic evidence appeared to show that soldier ‘D’ had also then gone on to shot Martin McCaughey in the head as he lay on the ground, it said:

“Mr McCaughey was on or close to the ground when he sustained the fatal wound.

“Mr McCaughey received other identified entry wounds and a further wound which is behind the left ear.

“On the balance of probability it is not possible to be definitive about the wound behind Mr McCaughey’s left ear.”

The jury said it could not agree on whether the SAS had attempted to arrest the IRA men.

Despite this they ruled that the British army’s elite unit had still been justified in opening fire on the IRA men once they felt that their secret hiding positions had been ’compromised’.

“We cannot be unanimous on the balance of probabilities whether or not there was an opportunity to attempt arrest in accordance with the Yellow Card (British Army rules on soldiers opening fire) prior to the soldiers feeling compromised.

“However, once the soldiers felt compromised we agree that there was no other reasonable course of action.”

Dismissing claims that forensic evidence appeared to show the IRA men had been shot while standing at the door of the mushroom sheds and had not in fact approached the SAS position, the verdict stated:

“Soldier ’A’ opened fire in the belief that their position had been compromised and their lives were in danger.

“Soldier ’A’ believed that Mr Grew and Mr McCaughey, who were armed with guns, wearing gloves and balaclavas, had moved towards their position.

“Soldiers B, C and D followed A’s initial shot and continued firing until they believed the threat was neutralised. Given these circumstances we believe the soldiers used reasonable force.”

Adds  A day after the inquest jury verdict, Sinn Féin MLA Francie Molloy gives the party’s response.

“This inquest verdict diminishes both the justice system and public confidence in the defence of human rights. The families of those killed have the same rights as every other bereaved family. The outcome of this inquest will only serve to reinforce the view that Irish republicans and their families are not treated equally to others.

“One irrefutable fact was established. The British State used lethal force to execute two Irish citizens in their own country. To describe this as reasonable is an outrage

“Dessie Grew and Martin McCaughey were courageous IRA Volunteers. It is clear from the evidence produced at the inquest that they were executed in a shoot-to-kill operation by the British State.

“Sinn Féin respect the memory of Dessie and Martin and hundreds of other volunteers who made the ultimate sacrifice during the war.

So much for being “open to using new language, and consider making new compromises“.

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  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Not sure why this verdict as such would be “devastating” for the families; or if it is, whether we should have any sympathy for that kind of reaction. They acknowledged their loved ones were on what is euphemistically called “active service” – to the rest of us, on their way to kill people armed with machine guns – for a terrorist organisation responsible for murders going into 4 figures. Yet they seem to expect the security forces intercepting these heavily armed terrorists to simply arrest them, as if they were errant chefs shoplifting some cheese. Breath-taking really.

    The security forces lost 3 members to terrorists for every one life taken by the security forces; Republican terrorists took 5 lives for every one they lost. Which makes it even more breath-taking.

  • Dec

    I see the old ‘made a movement’ rationale for pumping more bullets into a prone body from close range, is still getting an airing. It still works, to be fair.

  • Turgon

    Firstly celebrating anyone’s death is not really decent or polite. These two terrorists who died were clearly loved by their families. Their families cannot be expected to be wholly rational about their loved ones deaths.

    However, republicans are asking society to believe that these people should not have been killed. Well, in the circumstances of their own actions they, the dead terrorists, have only themselves to blame.

    The recurrent republican fantasy asks us to believe that the republican “volunteers” were fighting “a war” and as such had the right to open fire on essentially anyone they wanted to.

    The same republican fantasy, however, also claims that the security forces were claiming moral superiority (something I agree with the republicans on). The problem then is that republicans claim that with the security forces claiming (in my view correctly) moral superiority then the security forces were required to arrest these terrorists.

    The simple fact is that these two heavily armed terrorists were “on active service” (aka committing crimes) and posed an immediate and direct threat to the security forces.

    Had the situation been the other way round and the terrorists surprised the SAS republicans would be happy to have the terrorists open fire first. However, they require a higher standard of the security forces. In this they are right and proper.

    However, in this case the security forces did act in a fashion of a higher standard than the terrorists. The SAS opened fire when the terrorists posed a threat to them (the SAS). When the terrorists stopped posing a threat they clearly stopped firing. Then when a terrorist looked like posing a threat again the SAS member shot him again.

    It is simply idiotic to expect the security forces to try to arrest armed terrorists who were clearly intending to go out and kill people and who would have opened fire as soon as they heard or saw the soldiers. Hence, the soldiers identifying themseleves would have put themselves, the soldiers, at great risk.

    The security forces should be held to a higher standard than terrorists but that standard does not mean the security forces deliberately putting their own lives at immediate excessive and extreme risk by making themselves the targets of armed terrorists.

    Whilst it is sad that anyone died here in the Troubles these two terrorists died due to their own illegal and immoral actions.

  • DoppiaVu

    Dec

    Do you have evidence which the jury (which sat through 8 weeks of evidence) did not have access to? Want to share it with us?

    No? Didn’t think so.

  • tacapall

    Whilst your right about some of your points Turgon the families and quite a few other families allege there was a shoot to kill policy happening around that time in that part of the country and the figures back up their case.

    On 24 May 1984 an inquiry under Deputy Chief Constable John Stalker of the Greater Manchester Police was opened into three specific cases where it was alleged that a specially trained undercover RUC team known as the “Headquarters Mobile Support Unit” had carried out a “shoot-to-kill” policy. These three cases were:

    11 November 1982: The killing of three unarmed IRA members at an RUC checkpoint in Craigavon, County Armagh.

    24 November 1982: The killing, by an RUC undercover unit, of Michael Tighe and the wounding of his friend Martin McCauley at an IRA arms cache on a farm near Lurgan, County Armagh. (19 years later, McCauley was arrested in Colombia, accused by the Colombian authorities of teaching FARC guerillas in the use of explosives, in particular the “barrack buster”).

    12 December 1982: The killing at an RUC checkpoint in Mullacreavie, County Armagh, of two INLA members, Seamus Grew and Roddy Carroll. (The intended main target, Dominic McGlinchey, was not in their car as expected.)

    The shootings were initially investigated by other members of the RUC, and the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland decided to bring prosecutions. At the first trial, relating to the shootings of the two INLA men, Constable John Robinson admitted to having been instructed to lie in his statements, and that other witnesses had similarly altered their stories to provide justification for opening fire on Grew and Carroll. When Robinson was found not guilty, the resulting public outcry caused RUC Chief Constable John Hermon to ask John Stalker to investigate the killings.

    On 5 June 1986, just before Stalker was to make his final report, he was removed from his position in charge of the inquiry. On 30 June, he was suspended from duty over allegations of association with criminals. On 22 August, he was cleared of the allegations and returned to duty, although he was not reinstated as head of the inquiry. The inquiry was taken over by Colin Sampson of the West Yorkshire Police.

    Its findings were never made public.

  • SK

    “I see the old ‘made a movement’ rationale for pumping more bullets into a prone body from close range, is still getting an airing. It still works, to be fair.”

    ____

    I doubt the ASU would have given their intended target any opportunity to surrender, so why should anyone be overly concerned about them getting popped first?

    This is one thing I never really got about the Ra. They shoot an unarmed man as he comes home from the shops and apparently that’s fine, because it’s “war”. Yet here we have a group of armed men, coming up against another group of armed men, but strangely the provo rules of warfare don’t seem to apply anymore. Losing a firefight is one thing, but the really pathetic part is all the whingeing about it afterwards.

    Big boys games, big boys rules.

  • Alias

    According to Ed Moloney, the East Tyrone Brigade lost over 50 members in the run up to the ‘peace process.’ It was a pity its members were slow learners and didn’t observe that it was far safer to join Marty or Gerry’s brigade, since the state, oddly enough, wasn’t bumping them off at anywhere near the same rate.

  • Turgon

    SK,
    I think the republican line is farctionally more subtle (though no less flawed). From what is frequently stated here and elsewhere republicans claim that since the security forces claimed moral superiority over the IRA, then they (the security forces) had to abide by higher standards.

    In this perversly republicans are completely correct. Indeed the state must abide by higher standards. That is why Bloody Sunday was wrong: some soldiers did not abide by high standards; rather they killed innocent people – murder.

    In this case, however, along with those of the Loughgall “martyrs” etc. however, the security forces did abide by high standards. Those high standards do not, however, have to include the security force members putting themselves at excessive and overwhelming personal risk in order to try to stop the terrorists dying.

    On this occassion even by the standard republicans set for the security forces (a standard much higher than republicans set for the IRA – demonstrating their own hypocrisy) the security forces pass.

  • Dec

    Dopey

    I read the same evidence that the jury heard. Like them, I’ll draw my own conclusions. SAS inquest testimony is a long litany of ‘aggressive movements’ made by unarmed or armed targets and this one is no different.

  • tacapall

    Turgon no-one is denying that the security forces have a right to protect themselves or use force if necessary when confronted by an armed gang, however executing dying men who had been shot multiple times is not reasonable force, it is shoot to kill, juries can get things wrong and on this occasion they did.

  • Dec

    SK

    ‘Yet here we have a group of armed men, coming up against another group of armed men, but strangely the provo rules of warfare don’t seem to apply anymore.’

    So if the IRA kill a few soldiers that’s fine too?

  • SK

    “I think the republican line is farctionally more subtle (though no less flawed). From what is frequently stated here and elsewhere republicans claim that since the security forces claimed moral superiority over the IRA, then they (the security forces) had to abide by higher standards.”

    _____

    Conversely, the IRA themselves claimed moral superiority over the British Army by virtue of the fact that their cause was a just one. Why, then, didn’t they themselves feel obligated to conduct themselves in a manner befitting of the “good guys”?

    “Those Brits think they’re better than us, so we’re allowed to behave worse than them”. It’s just so convoluted.

    When it comes to the troubles, I would dispute the notion that the words “British” and “morally superior” belong in the same sentence. But at least the Crown Forces never came come out of a firefight screaming about their human rights.

  • SK

    “So if the IRA kill a few soldiers that’s fine too?”

    I’m not saying it’s fine. No aspect of the troubles was fine.

  • Dec

    SK

    ‘I’m not saying it’s fine’

    But that’s the thrust of your logic.

    ‘But at least the Crown Forces never came come out of a firefight screaming about their human rights.’

    No the RUC launched murder investiagtions. Seriously, what are you talking about?

  • SK

    “Seriously, what are you talking about?”

    ______

    If the Ra reserves the right to shoot unarmed people, then they have no right to complain about getting shot at themselves.

    Is that an unreasonable statement?

  • Dec

    And if the British Army reserve the right to shoot unarmed people, then they have no right to complain about getting shot at themselves?

  • SK

    “And if the British Army reserve the right to shoot unarmed people, then they have no right to complain about getting shot at themselves?”

    If anybody claims the right to shoot at an unarmed individual, then they forfeit the right to scream about human rights when it happens to them. In my opnion.

  • Dec

    Nice sidestep.

  • tacapall

    Like this SK

    “Police leaders say they will not abandon their “shoot-to-kill” policy and warn more innocent people could be killed in the fight against terrorism.

    The message came after Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, was shot dead by officers in London after being mistaken for a suicide bomber.

    Met Police Chief Sir Ian Blair said “shoot-to-kill in order to protect” would continue, despite the “tragedy”.

    Never mind all that lark about reasonable force and acting within the law. We might as well do away with inquests and give the security forces a free hand to murder at will anyone who they believe is a threat.

  • SK

    What are you talking about “sidestep”? When I said “anybody”, what did you think I meant?

    Had the IRA got the upper hand in that firefight, what would they have done to the wounded soldiers? Killed them stone dead.

    I’m a nationalist, but the whole “live by the sword, die by the sword” thing absolutely applies in scenarios such as this one as far as I’m concerned.

  • SK

    “Never mind all that lark about reasonable force and acting within the law. We might as well do away with inquests and give the security forces a free hand to murder at will anyone who they believe is a threat.”

    There is a difference between a guy running for a train and two lads in jumpsuits waving kalashnikovs around.

  • cynic2

    ” there was a shoot to kill policy happening ” ….and the jury decided that in this case they were totally utterly justified

    Must have been the wrong kind of jurors then

  • sonofstrongbow

    This all reminds me very much of the Sammy Brush whingefest. Well really those damn Brits shooting back; it’s soooooooo unfair.

    It is of course another example of the Irish Republican’s Hokey-Cokey War (when they shoot it’s ‘war’, when the lead comes t’other way it’s watch me Human Rights chara).

    There are many, many aspects of the Irish Republican mindset that rises the bile on ones throat but this gurning about the deaths of those armed and bent on murder whilst singing ballads about the ‘glorious’ battle of La Mon or such like tells you all you really need to know about Republicanism in Ireland.

  • tacapall

    “Must have been the wrong kind of jurors then”

    http://www.herald.ie/breaking-news/national-news/mod-welcomes-sas-shootings-ruling-3098106.html

    “A soldier opened fire claiming he feared his life and the lives of his colleagues were in danger. Other troops said they returned fire at sparks they believed were muzzle flashes coming from armed IRA members.

    It emerged the republicans did not shoot and the soldiers later said they were firing at flashes they subsequently realised were caused by their own bullets. Questions were also raised over why Grew was shot at close quarters as he lay injured on the ground.”

    No warnings and no attempt to arrest the men they shot first and asked questions later, then after shooting both men multiple times, they claimed they still posed a danger to them so they shot them again at close range.

    Anywhere else that’s called execution.

  • ranger1640

    Any reasonable person could only conclude that the verdict that was given was the only correct verdict that could be given. Well done that jury. They took all the facts and they concluded that the killing of 2 terrorists were justified.

    Stating the IRA men’s own actions had contributed to their deaths and that the SAS had used “reasonable force” during the events that led to the fatal shootings.

    “Mr Grew and Mr McCaughey put their lives in danger by being in the area of the sheds in the vicinity of a stolen car, which was expected to be used in terrorist activity,” the verdict stated.

    “They were both armed with guns, wearing gloves and balaclavas and were approaching soldiers who believed that their lives were in immediate danger.”

  • cynic2

    “Anywhere else that’s called execution.”

    You are entitled to your view no matter how biased it is. A panel of jurors who heard the evidence (as opposed to your mere opinion) concluded otherwise.

  • aquifer

    Thanks to the jurors. A pesky job.

    Terrorists like to be the only ones delivering unpleasant surprises, with five times the survival chances of civilians and three times the survival chances of security force workers.

    Closing those odds is uncomfortable for them and their supporters. No surprise there,

    With taliban suicide bombers on the news it is difficult to take armed irish separatists seriously any more.

    Risking an open university degree at her majesty’s pleasure is not the same is it?

  • DoppiaVu

    Dec – “I read the same evidence that the jury heard. Like them, I’ll draw my own conclusions.”

    Are you now telling me that you actually managed to read all 8 weeks of evidence? Again, I don’t think so.

    But hey, who needs 8 weeks of evidence and a considered decision by a jury?

  • Harry Flashman

    In fairness you will never see the Provos themselves complaining about a member being killed by the crown forces, it is usually the familes who do so.

    The Provos believed it was a war and, though no doubt angered and vengeful about such losses, never demanded that the British treat them in any way other than as armed combatants who were liable to be killed in action.

  • tacapall

    DoppiaVu. Do juries not get it wrong sometimes ?

    The Birmingham 6, The Guildford four, The Maguire 7, The Bridgewater four, I could go on but the point is just because a jury says they believe the evidence they were shown lead them to the verdict they announced, doesn’t mean its actually the right one.

  • Niccolo

    I sympathize with all families who have lost loved ones….

    ….but let’s face it, these two men, “both armed with guns, wearing gloves and balaclavas”, were not on their way to a Sunday school picnic. They were tooled up with deadly intent and clearly posed a threat.

    If they really want to build credibility in the eyes of the British/Unionist community the Republican movement needs properly prepare their grassroots. Basically wean themselves off these ridiculous attempts to style heavily armed masked men as victims.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    It does seem Republicans are sadly still trying to grasp at any straw from the Troubles that allows them to think of themselves as somehow “victims” of “the conflict”. The facts are irrelevant really to them, as long as they (1) keep feeding their own community’s view of itself as victims and (2) obscure the bigger picture of the Troubles. That’s what this inquest and so much of Republican “interest in getting to the truth” is really about for them.

    It is manipulative, cynical, dishonest and treats the public who lived through the Troubles like fools. Which is no surprise as they treated us even worse at the time.

    Just to recap for whose who missed what happened: the “conflict” consisted mainly of Republicans attacking and killing a load of people; Loyalists attacking and killing a smaller number of people back; and the security forces trying to stop both of them and ending up killing people too, in smaller numbers still. This basic picture isn’t great for Republicans. The cowardice and myopic selfishness of the terror campaign continues through other means today – but it seems to be still very much a feature.

    Coming to terms with a great wrong is not easy. And I suspect many former terrorists are psychologically very damaged, though they may not like to talk about it. But I hope that slowly they can come to understand and start to accept responsibility publicly. And I think it’s important for the rest of that this starts to happen. I don’t think they do their own psychological recovery or ours any favours when they continue seeking to put blame on others for deaths on IRA terrorist missions.

    Such attempts also undermine trust between the communities – as it suggests Republicans live in a parallel moral universe and hold themselves to different moral standards than they expect of others. This is deeply unfair.

    When standing up for the rights of families to have questions answered, we do need to bear all this in mind too. There is a cost to all of us in keeping this culture of blame avoidance fed.

  • Niccolo

    I think the Republican leadership need to ‘catch themselves on’ and have a quiet word with their people on this sort of thing. However, it’s a real problem for them as they’ve made an industry out of victimhood. Someone is going to have to break it to them that history is not written by the Wolfe Tones.

  • tacapall

    Mainland Ulsterman you seem to be confusing the families of those killed as being part of the republican movement, in your eyes even their families were involved in whatever activities those who were killed were engaged in. Whatever your opinion is they are still entitled to “ getting to the truth” and ask why no attempt was made to arrest them or why they were killed in a hail of bullets without warning, without being branded as moping in your eyes.

    “Just to recap for whose who missed what happened: the “conflict” consisted mainly of Republicans attacking and killing a load of people; Loyalists attacking and killing a smaller number of people back; and the security forces trying to stop both of them and ending up killing people too, in smaller numbers still. This basic picture isn’t great for Republicans. The cowardice and myopic selfishness of the terror campaign continues through other means today – but it seems to be still very much a feature.”

    Here’s another viewpoint, yes a dirty little war went on and yes all sides murdered innocent people including the security forces and they did not always stop them or even try, in fact they armed one section of the community (Loyalists) to murder innocent victims of the other community (Catholics) they, the security forces, also had opportunities to save peoples lives when they had intelligence that a citizen or even their own colleagues lives were at risk but they stood back for reasons of advantage or more sinister and allowed innocent people and their colleagues to be murdered. They also controlled agent provocateurs within all those paramilitary organisations allowing them to murder at will and helping them evade justice, there’s plenty of evidence to prove those facts but people like yourself act like ostriches and stick your heads in the sand and pretend they don’t see it. Attitudes like your own also undermine trust between the communities.

    “There is a cost to all of us in keeping this culture of blame avoidance fed.”

    What cost would that be “The truth”

  • DoppiaVu

    tapacall

    “DoppiaVu. Do juries not get it wrong sometimes ?”

    Indeed they do. But they’re still the best system anyone’s come up with.

    And I’ve yet to hear you set out why the jury is wrong in this instance.

    Oh yes and same question to you Dec. After all, apparently you have read all 8 weeks of evidence.

    So, let’s hear it then…

  • tacapall

    DoppiaVu its simple, when a jury has to decide a verdict they hear two sides of a story, on this occasion they only heard one side.

  • Niccolo

    “when a jury has to decide a verdict they hear two sides of a story, on this occasion they only heard one side”?

    Come along now….

    What was Karen Quinlivan doing at the inquest then?

  • tacapall

    “What was Karen Quinlivan doing at the inquest then?”

    Was she there with Grew and McCaughey when they were shot, or was she there with the SAS, did she witness anything ?

  • Niccolo

    tacapall,

    “Was she there with Grew and McCaughey when they were shot, or was she there with the SAS, did she witness anything?”

    You’ve lost me….should I ask the question again?

    What has that to do with, “when a jury has to decide a verdict they hear two sides of a story, on this occasion they only heard one side”?

    Karen Quinlivan was the barrister acting for the families of Grew and McCaughey.

    A verdict has been reached.

    If you do not agree with it then I suggest you explain why.

  • DoppiaVu

    “Karen Quinlivan was the barrister acting for the families of Grew and McCaughey.

    A verdict has been reached.

    If you do not agree with it then I suggest you explain why.”

    Good luck with that one Niccolo. I’ve been asking the same question since yesterday afternoon.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Tacapall,
    An unfair post which missed the point.

    “… in your eyes even their families were involved in whatever activities those who were killed were engaged in”

    Not at all, but the families we’re talking about here were engaged in trying to blame other people for the deaths of their terrorist loved ones on a terrorist mission, while heavily armed. For families who have accepted such deaths I have sympathy. But for those trying to besmirch the reputations of those who had to confront the terrorists and stop them, I have disgust – bereaved or not. I’d say the same of Mohammed Atta’s family if they sought to blame the US for his death. Being a relative of a terrorist does not absolve you of the need to be a decent human being. I notice Anders Breivik’s family disowned him – that’s more what you would hope for.

    As to your second comment – it’s exactly the kind apparent “quest for the truth” which is nothing of the sort. I want every scrap of the truth to be known, every single consequence of the Armed Struggle. It’s our best chance of making sure no one tries to unite Ireland by force again.

    As to your highly partisan account of security force failings, it is riddled with inaccuracies and misleading statement. For a start, your assertion that the security forces armed Loyalists suggests this was some deliberate policy from the top, or something that happened as a matter of course. There is no evidence for that, quite the contrary. To the extent arms did find their way from rogue members of the security forces (many of whom were caught and imprisoned) to Loyalists, it was against the best efforts of the security forces themselves. Blame those responsible, not the mass of decent and brave public servants who were as outraged by it as anyone else.

    Also, your observation that “they stood back for reasons of advantage” shows you share a common misapprehension that anti-terrorist action is necessarily morally grey. It’s much clearer than you allow.

    So you’re running agents within terrorist groups (an absolute necessity) and you know there are planned terrorist actions in the coming weeks. You could disrupt all of them, but if you do, you lose your agent and the ability to disrupt future actions. Now, if you think the terrorism more generally is likely to continue, then your judgment has to be how to disrupt that proportion of activities that will lead to the greatest number of lives overall being saved in the long term.

    This is not an amoral or even morally grey choice, it’s one to which there is a clear, if uncomfortable answer. You have to look to save as many lives as you can, even if it means not saving all for every occasion. That is, you may on occasion have to fail to stop a terrorist action you know about, in order to save more lives in future. It’s tough but it’s a logical working through of the dilemma the terrorists have placed you in and it’s the only humane thing you can do.

    The fact our security forces had to face these kind of awful moral choices is not their fault. They were forced into this position by the need to protect the public against terrorism. And it only looks amoral if you miss the bigger picture. Clearly people who wish the security forces ill will of course not see it that way. But it’s hardly a coincidence that the same people who think terrorism is somehow justifiable also seek to undermine the rights and humanity of those who protect the public from it. So no surprise there.

    This isn’t to say everyone involved in defeating the IRA were saints. However, stopping the murder campaign was of such overwhelming importance that I’m sure you’ll agree, we need to show much sympathy and understanding in considering the security forces’ dilemmas and the tactics the security forces used. And I hope you’ll join me in thanking the security forces for all the lives they saved over the 30 years of the Armed Struggle and indeed in helping bring it to an end.

  • SK

    ” the “conflict” consisted mainly of Republicans attacking and killing a load of people; Loyalists attacking and killing a smaller number of people back.. ”
    ________________

    Offensive, mealy-mouthed, bollocks.

    Take a gander at CAIN and note that the first civilian to die was at the hands of Loyalists, the first cop to die was murdered by Loyalists and the first bombing was committed by Loyalists (masquerading as Republicans).

    But sure the Loyalists weren’t the aggressors, they were only killing a smaller number of people back.

  • Barnshee

    “But sure the Loyalists weren’t the aggressors, they were only killing a smaller number of people back.”

    It all depends when you start the count.

    The murder campaign continues ( with less effect and at an appreciably lower level) amonst those who have not been bought off (yet/?).

  • BIGK

    It is great to see how far our country has come or should it be gone. From some of the comments it appears that as always the only good fenian is a dead one. Throughout the recent “troubles” all republicans killed were killed and all foreign mercenaries were murdered. Something doesnt weigh up here or is there a hiearchy of victims?. When you pick up a gun you take the chance of someone opposite you doing the same thing no matter if you are a soldier of the queen of England or a soldier of Ireland.

  • Niccolo

    BIGK,

    “foreign mercenaries”? Who would that be?

    “a soldier of the queen of England or a soldier of Ireland”?

    If you elude to British soldiers and Provisional IRA volunteers, then its hardly an apples-for-apples comparison.

    However, if this is your fantasy, then for starters, how many ‘prisoners of war’ did these “soldiers of Ireland” take during the ‘Troubles’?

  • tacapall

    Mainland Ulsterman

    “As to your highly partisan account of security force failings, it is riddled with inaccuracies and misleading statement. For a start, your assertion that the security forces armed Loyalists suggests this was some deliberate policy from the top, or something that happened as a matter of course. There is no evidence for that, quite the contrary. To the extent arms did find their way from rogue members of the security forces (many of whom were caught and imprisoned) to Loyalists, it was against the best efforts of the security forces themselves. Blame those responsible, not the mass of decent and brave public servants who were as outraged by it as anyone else.”

    Maybe you should read up on the HET’s inquiry into the Ormeau Road bookies massacre where one of the weapons used was given to loyalist terrorists by members of the RUC special branch and approved by their superiors these weapons were then used to murder 7 innocent people – No-one has ever been charged with the murders and nor have any police officers who supplied the loyalist terrorists with the weapon. – How many lives did that action save ? Are these the rouge policemen you’re talking about ? You should also read the testimonies of John Weir and Billy McCaughey both ex RUC officers who also alleged their colleagues in the RUC aided and armed loyalist terrorists.

    “Also, your observation that “they stood back for reasons of advantage” shows you share a common misapprehension that anti-terrorist action is necessarily morally grey. It’s much clearer than you allow.”

    No I dont. No police force in any civilised society should murder to prevent murder, have you read the police ombudsmans report into the the activities of RUC special branch officers who allowed their agents in the Mount Vernon UVF to murder up to 15 innocent people and the attempted murder of many more and paid one of them £80,000 and helped them evade justice – How many lives did those actions save ? Have you ever read the Stephens inquiry probably not or you wouldn’t be having this conversation or have you heard “The public admission of “state collusion in murder” by a member of the cabinet” this is in relation to human rights lawyer Patrick Finucane – How many lives did that action save ? Or how about Freddie Scappaticci allowed to carry out up to 60 murders.

    In all those cases of murder above no police officer has been charged with any offense even though they acted no different nor used tactics that were any different to those who they were supposedly trying to thwart.

    Unlike yourself Mainland Ulsterman I don’t agree with using violence or force against any human being, be that from those you call terrorists or those that are paid to uphold the law. In a civilised society the police “have a duty to protect” not play a game of chess with innocent people’s lives.

    Knowing a murder or murders is about to happen and having the power to prevent it but allowing it to happen because “The ends justify the means” is in my eyes and most right thinking people the world over, callous, morally wrong and unlawful.

  • Alias

    “…I don’t agree with using violence or force against any human being, be that from those you call terrorists or those that are paid to uphold the law.”

    Fair enough, but if a serial killer is holding your wife as a hostage with a gun to her head, would you debate moral philosophy with the police sniper or pray he makes a clean shot quickly?

  • Alias

    No need to answer if you’re going through a bitter divorce!

  • Pete Baker

    Adds A day after the inquest jury verdict, Sinn Féin MLA Francie Molloy gives the party’s response.

    “This inquest verdict diminishes both the justice system and public confidence in the defence of human rights. The families of those killed have the same rights as every other bereaved family. The outcome of this inquest will only serve to reinforce the view that Irish republicans and their families are not treated equally to others.

    “One irrefutable fact was established. The British State used lethal force to execute two Irish citizens in their own country. To describe this as reasonable is an outrage

    “Dessie Grew and Martin McCaughey were courageous IRA Volunteers. It is clear from the evidence produced at the inquest that they were executed in a shoot-to-kill operation by the British State.

    “Sinn Féin respect the memory of Dessie and Martin and hundreds of other volunteers who made the ultimate sacrifice during the war.

    So much for being “open to using new language, and consider making new compromises“.

  • bullfrogbluesman

    I believe its relevant that mark Urban once wrote a book called “Big Boys Games…..

    If you put yourself out there with a rifle and somebody more proficient than you is waiting for you then its a foregone conclusion. The brave volunteers were probably going to attack an unarmed and pretty defenceless target so my sympathy is quite restricted on this one

  • Old Mortality

    No Republican can expect justice from a jury. That’s why there were Diplock courts in the first place. We can’t have juries in inquests into the deaths of Republicans because they are not always representative of the Republican community and so cannot be relied upon to produce the correct verdict. (Have I got that right?)

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Tacapall,
    “Unlike yourself Mainland Ulsterman I don’t agree with using violence or force against any human being”

    Are you sure about that? In real life, police forces have to use force from to time to time to apprehend criminals, surely? If a policeman chases a burglar and catches him, is he not allowed to touch him, or is he limited to verbal commands only? Absurd. Or what about humanitarian interventions to prevent massacres – are they supposed to be totally unarmed?

    I wish it weren’t so, but there’s no way around the need to enforce the law. When it is not enforced, as last summer’s riots in England showed, it’s the weakest and least well off who suffer most. Over here, and speaking as a Labour supporter, law and order is no longer an issue only for the hang ’em and flog ’em brigade – if whom I am certainly not one. The people who benefit most from good law enforcement are people in the most deprived areas.

    You don’t address the point I made about the moral corner that anti-terrorist police find themselves in – that if they show their hand completely, they may blow their informants’ cover and lose the ability to stop future murders. This puts them in an awful position. You assert it’s morally wrong for police to do anything other than blow the mole’s cover after the first incident he brings to them. But you don’t answer the point that says, what if it saved 100 lives by leaving him in place, but cost 20, so 80 lives net gain; and to take out the mole early saved say 30 lives? Is it clearly the right thing to do to save 30 people rather than 80?

    These are horrible calculations, but this is the stuff of both moral philosophy and the real life dilemmas that terrorists place on the shoulders of the poor buggers who put their own lives on the line to save innocent people from those terrorists. Have some sympathy.

  • tacapall

    Mainland Ulsterman

    Code of practice for police officers.

    “Police officers obey lawful orders and refrain from carrying out any orders they know, or ought to know, are unlawful.
    Police officers abide by the law.”

    “Police officers respect everyone’s right to life and do not, under any circumstances, inflict, instigate or tolerate any act of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (as enshrined in Articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights).”

    Need I say anymore ! There is no moral argument to be debated, the rules above are clear, rules that the RUC evidently and blatantly ignored.

  • HeinzGuderian

    The Provos believed it was a war and, though no doubt angered and vengeful about such losses, never demanded that the British treat them in any way other than as armed combatants who were liable to be killed in action.
    …………………………………….

    Right enough Harry,I never heard marty or gerry gurning about ‘shoot to kill’………much .

  • HeinzGuderian

    sk,maybe you missed the relevant figures when you had a gander at Cain ?

    60%
    30%
    10%

    See if you can work out which is which ?

  • tacapall

    http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17980481

    “Malaysians seeking an inquiry into the 1948 killing of 24 villagers by UK troops say their relatives’ deaths were “cold-blooded mass murder”. The alleged massacre at Batang Kali happened when Malaya was part of the British Empire.

    The government’s refusal to formally investigate is to be challenged in a judicial review hearing. The British authorities at the time said the men were insurgents killed as they tried to escape.”

    “Some of those soldiers gave statements to a 1970 inquiry by the Metropolitan Police in which they contradicted the official version of events by saying, in essence, that the villagers had not been trying escape when they were shot.”

    Same old same old ….

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Tacapall,
    “There is no moral argument to be debated”

    Haha – that really IS slippery. Do you really honestly think that? Or is it that you’re afraid that if you engage with the reality of the moral arguments, you’ll find (God forbid) that you have show understanding towards the security forces.

    SK,
    CAIN is a brilliant resource and I urge everyone to look at it. As well as the 60 / 30/ 10 proportions of killing, there are many other troubling facts detailed there for those minded to regard the Troubles as some kind of 50/50 “conflict”. Here’s the proportion of killing to being killed for the major protagonists:
    Republicans – 5:1
    Loyalists – 7:1
    Security Force – 1:3

    We should think hard about these figures every time we hear a Republican attempt to paint the security forces as “the bad guys” in the big picture of the Troubles. It’s just untenable.

    Also, an earlier post questioned my (admittedly loose) summary of the Troubles as “mealy-mouthed” (whatever that means) on the basis that somehow Loyalists started it and it only got worse later on. Not quite so. Read Malachi O’Docherty’s The Trouble With Guns for a taking apart of the Republican “self-defence” argument. But also look at the proportions of killing in each phase. Percentages are for killings by Republican / Loyalist / Security Forces:
    Phase 1 – start of the Troubles, 1969-70 – 42 deaths – 48% / 12% / 36%
    Phase 2 – paramilitaries in full swing, 1971-76 – 1,752 deaths – 53% / 33% / 12%
    Phase 3 – IRA’s “Long War” – 1977-90 – 1,249 deaths – 71% / 17% / 10%
    Phase 4 – Tit-for-Tat – 1991-94 – 343 deaths – 48% / 48% / 5%
    Phase 5 – ceasefires to 98 – 1995-8 – 103 deaths – 59% / 36% / 1%

    And the final total for that period was 59% / 29% / 10%.

    Fairly clear from this why Republicans seek to give the appearance that it was some kind of even-handed “conflict”. Or are those figures “mealy-mouthed”?

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    You’ll also note the security forces’ percentage of killings falling consistently as the Troubles proceeded. The initial engagement of the Army was chaotic and way too many lives were lost as a result. But the subsequent figures show the security forces were about reducing loss of life, not increasing the conflict.

    The argument that they “used” Loyalists as proxies is not born out, either by the high conviction rates for Loyalist killers, or by the much reduced Loyalist killing rate from the mid 70s onwards. It’s not to say there weren’t nasty aberrations, there were, and that is awful and brings shame to the country; but the overall pattern suggests this was a small part of the picture.

    Meanwhile, the Republicans ploughed on regardless. Of course they did – it was their “Armed Struggle”.

  • tacapall

    Mainland Ulsterman trying to excuse the inexcusable leaves you scrapping the bottom of the barrel for statistics into who carried out what murders but your forgetting, conviently may I add, that the security forces allowed a significant amount of those murders to take place, in just two cases alone Scappaticci and the Mount Vernon UVF carried out almost 100 murders between them either at the behest or with the knowledge of the security forces which makes them directly involved in those murders. As each month goes by new allegations and new evidence is emerging connecting the security forces particularly the RUC with both loyalist and republican paramilitaries and the activities they engaged in. Those statistics you used are irrelevant they are not a true reflection of who was pulling the strings of those who carried out the killings. No matter what your viewpoint is, murdering innocent people or allowing innocent people to be murdered to supposedly stop innocent people or members of the security forces being killed is morally wrong and unlawful. But I suppose if you were one of those who either formulated that policy or were involved in allowing an innocent person or persons to be killed so as you or your colleagues could live then for your own conscience I suppose what else could you do but convince yourself that its moral and legal.

    http://www.seamusludlow.com/dundalk_bombing_report.htm

    Oireachtas Final Report on the Dundalk Bombing and other Atrocities in the 1970s

    “In three cases bombs were placed without warnings. These cross-Border attacks claimed the lives of 38 people.”

    “Widespread collusion between loyalist paramilitary killers and the British forces in the Six Counties in the murderous bombing of Dundalk on 19 December 1975, and other deadly attacks in the 1970s, was confirmed on 29 November 2006 by the Oireachtas justice sub-committee report into the bombing of Kay’s Tavern.

    The killings of Jack Rooney and Hugh Watters in Dundalk and others elsewhere involved UVF/RUC/UDR personnel (the so-called Glenanne Gang) and, it is suggested, there was also involvement of state knowledge and direction.

    The killers of Seamus Ludlow, from Mountpleasant, north of Dundalk, in May 1976 are known to have been members of a different gang (the Red Hand Commando, an offshoot of the UVF) from the Comber-Bangor district of north Down – though two of them were also members of the UDR!

    According to the oireachtas report members of the then UK Labour cabinet and leaders of the main opposition party, the Conservative Party, certainly knew of the RUC/UDR involvement with loyalist killers in the 1970s and did nothing.

    By doing nothing they let it continue – an act of collusion in murder!”

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Tacapall,
    “trying to excuse the inexcusable” – the shooting of the IRA men was actually found to be legal and most people on here have found nothing wrong in that judgment.
    “scraping the bottom of the barrel for statistics” – really? CAIN? It’s THE source for what happened in the Troubles.
    “the security forces allowed a significant number of those killings to take place” – it would have to be a vast number to alter the overall picture I set out.

    You make the old Republican deliberate mistake of pretending Loyalists have no independent agency – this is frankly a complete misunderstanding of the nature of Loyalism and of how they operated. To Republicans, Loyalist crimes are crimes of the British government and I see you are traipsing along behind that same discredited old faulty analysis. Read Steve Bruce’s work on Loyalists, or indeed just about anyone who has studied them. The fact is, Loyalists wanted to kill for their own reasons and did it anyway. If they could find some bad apples in the police or Army willing to smuggle them a few names or a few guns then so much the better, in their view, but they were doing it anyway. The vast majority of Loyalist crimes were self-generated and had nothing at all to do with rogue members of the security forces. The very low proportion of actual active Republicans they targeted shows how little help they got from the security forces. The general pattern and attitude was “Any taig will do.”

    And you’re still not answering the utilitarian moral question I put to you – which is, is it immoral to save 80 lives by losing 30? It’s a situation no one wants to be in, but that was the choice. You can’t dodge it, as you try to, with simple assertions that anyone getting killed is morally wrong. It is but we’re evaluating a choice between higher and lower amounts of moral wrongs. You can’t just say, “it’s wrong”, it doesn’t start to engage with the issue. When I studied legal philosophy, we spent a lot of time and effort going into the nuances of these kinds of moral choices and suffice to say, a library of literature says this is not the morally clear issue you claim.

    Besides, shouldn’t we blame the terrorists here for producing this awful situation, not the police for being stuck in it?

  • Reader

    Mainland Ulsterman: When I studied legal philosophy, we spent a lot of time and effort going into the nuances of these kinds of moral choices and suffice to say, a library of literature says this is not the morally clear issue you claim.
    I recall an online resource that posed a series of moral challenges based on controlling a set of railway points directing trains at an assortment of victims or obstructions. The scenarios become more and more challenging, but one of the key learning points was that you have to make a decision whether sins of omission (failure to take action) are less serious than sins of commission. I get the impression that most people think that they are, but can’t actually defend the position.
    You would expect a Government to do those sums properly, but also to add some weight to the harm done when government agencies break their own laws. I believe that throughout the troubles, the government has done as well as could reasonably be expected in striking the right balance.
    (I think there’s a medical version of the moral challenge game, but I remember even less about that one)

  • tacapall

    Mainland Ulsterman. Cain is the source for what happened in the troubles at that time, the majority of information for its statistics comes from the media, government agencies like the security forces or claims of responsibility from the various paramilitaries who believed they were the ones pulling the strings of those who carried out the killings, but like I said new evidence is emerging almost daily and that new evidence has not been factored into Cains statistics therefore its not a true analysis of what organisation was responsible for various killings.

    I don’t need to rely or read any books into the modus operandi of Loyalist paramilitaries or indeed the RUC I have watched it all my life, lived through it with two of my family being murdered by both loyalist paramilitaries and by a member of the RUC. I experienced the collusion between the RUC and loyalist paramilitaries through my personal details and address being passed to loyalists paramilitaries by members of the RUC along with my mother and fathers, no doubt you will offer an explanation or some logical reason why this was although wrong but necessary, in the interests of the many. Your view that there was a few bad apples is a simplistic way of excusing widespread collusion in terrorism approved at the highest levels of the RUC including the British cabinet. That is not to say loyalists did carry out murders without the knowledge of their handlers or that rouge members of the RUC without the knowledge of their superiors colluded in the murder of innocent people but nonetheless they or their officers were involved. Im sure loyalists and republicans carried out killings that their organisation they belonged to did not sanction but in the Cain statistics its still the organisation they belonged to who were tagged as carrying it out.

    “is it immoral to save 80 lives by losing 30?”

    First of all you have absolutely no proof whatsoever that any lives were saved by the RUC sacrificing innocent lives to protect informers or change the course of the conflict. In the case of the RUC giving loyalists a weapon that was later used to murder 7 innocent people including one child, how did these action save anyone ? I could understand your argument for instance if members of the PIRA were killed during these sacrifices but the RUC publicly admitted all those killed were innocent Catholics so who’s lives were saved by those actions ? As to the moral argument whether its moral or immoral for others to decide whether one persons life is more worthy than another when deciding who lives or dies. If I as a citizen and an individual have no legal right, its a criminal act for me or others to take my own live say through euthanasia because I am terminally ill, because the rule of law sates the sanctity of life rather than the quality of life is the determining factor therefore anyone assisting me can be charged with murder or attempted murder then why should the police or the government be able to sacrifice my life to save another ?

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Tacapall,
    “I don’t need to rely or read any books into the modus operandi of Loyalist paramilitaries or indeed the RUC I have watched it all my life …”

    We all have our individual experiences that shape our view, but it can only take you so far in understanding the big picture. There is a limit to what one person can experience and some humility is required. After all, 99.99999% of things happen to other people. If you want to get a more rounded understanding, you need to get outside your own experience. In your dismissal of sources like CAIN, there seems to be a privileging of your immediate experience over the experiences of others. This may be understandable given the personal history you describe, but it isn’t any more valid for that. The statistics on the Troubles are so important – and they are much, much better researched and less controversial than you would like to believe – because they are an objective, factual way of reflecting everyone’s experience equally.

    Telling the story of the Troubles through those incidents we feel most strongly about is natural enough. But in reality, it’s not the whole picture. Without things like the Sutton Index of Deaths – or if you can find anything more objectively and thoroughly researched, I’m all ears – we all have a natural tendency to tell narratives that privilege events that mean a lot to us personally, at the expense of other narratives.

    The fact is many other people have suffered similar or worse fates in the Troubles – and many more at the hands of the Republican terrorists you defend than at anyone else’s. The focus by Republicans on security force wrong-doing – which I’ve at no point tried to defend – is galling (1) because of its obvious hypocrisy and (2) because we’re wise by now to the purpose it serves for Republicans – to distract attention from the wider narrative, in which they were the principal perpetrators of the Troubles. I don’t think the selective memory purely manipulative though – they’re not self-aware enough for that – it’s as much or possibly more about trying to convince themselves as it is convincing a wider audience.

    And of course some of the selective memorising isn’t deliberate at all – it’s how the brain is, it isn’t some perfect machine. That’s why we need recorded fact and research and we need to keep returning to it, to keep the natural laziness of our brains in check. There was a fascinating study of 9/11 survivors and their eye-witness accounts of the events, over 10 years. The researchers showed memory, even of the most memorable event possible, doesn’t just fade, it morphs. Witnesses changed their stories dramatically as the years went on. It wasn’t deliberate deception, they were trying their best to describe what happened. So anyway, important to read widely and confer widely I think.

    My point about the moral question – and thanks for engaging with it – is not that the police or government has any special right to take life. The question is a universal human one and applies anywhere. So we can’t say for sure that running informers in the way they did saved lives – but it does seem very strongly that trying to save lives was the reason for this approach. The idea seems eminently sensible to me – to protect people not by just foiling individual terrorist actions, but by also undermining terrorist organisations from within, demoralising and confusing them and reducing their ability to operate freely. It was the duty of the security forces to try to do this, especially as the Troubles moved into its second decade with no sign of Republicans wanting to stop their campaign. The Republican campaign was never going to brought to an end overnight, but there seems little doubt the IRA was in disarray by the end – riddled with informers and no one knowing who else to trust. meanwhile it was starting to dawn on some of them that their campaign was utterly without any prospect of success. So I’d argue the networks of informers have saved lives. Had the campaign still been going, we could have expected an extra 50 people a year to have been killed over the past 10 years, say – so that would be 500 people. These are the calculations security chiefs and political leaders have to make. Who knows if they got it right but they certainly had to try.

  • tacapall

    Mainland Ulsterman

    “In your dismissal of sources like CAIN, there seems to be a privileging of your immediate experience over the experiences of others. This may be understandable given the personal history you describe, but it isn’t any more valid for that. The statistics on the Troubles are so important – and they are much, much better researched and less controversial than you would like to believe – because they are an objective, factual way of reflecting everyone’s experience equally.”

    I did not dismiss the sources of Cain I said they were flawed as new evidence is emerging almost daily as to who really was responsible for a death or deaths in the Sutton index and that new evidence has not been used yet to re access who was actually responsible. You might say this is not controversial but that’s in your world as I’m sure that the vast majority of people who have had family members murdered would be shocked and horrified to learn that the security forces provided the weapons for their loved ones to be murdered or that the security forces had knowledge that their loved ones were about to be murdered and could have been saved but they were allowed to be killed because in your words ” To save others” or to protect informers. How can the Sutton index be objective and factual if its not the truth and is distorting history.

    By the way I am not nor have I ever defended the actions of anyone who murdered innocent people during the past conflict. Your labeling of anyone who disagrees with the state version of events as an apologist for the PIRA is as ignorant as your version of the facts and your attempts to justify state terrorism. People who were directly affected by the violence might indeed suffer trauma and that might have an impact on their experiences and how they express what they experienced years later, but that does not mean what they experienced was wrong or flawed or that it happened any other way than it did.

    When it comes to selective memory is this what you mean –

    http://www.portadowntimes.co.uk/news/local/uup-want-ardoyne-initiative-to-extend-to-drumcree-impasse-1-3831019

    CRAIGAVON Borough Council will write to the NI Parades Commission to “urgently request” that an initiative being used to tackle July 12 unrest in north Belfast is extended to the Drumcree impasse.

    He said, “I am concerned that the message that the Parades Commission risks sending out to the people of Northern Ireland is that if you become involved in violence, if you riot, if you throw petrol bombs, if you terrorise your own community, not to mention wasting valuable police resources, you will be rewarded by a special initiative, led by notable civic and church leaders.

    “However, as the members of Portadown District do, if you conduct your protest with dignity, respectfully and above all peacefully, the best you can expect is a pat on the head and a few well-rehearsed platitudes from the men and women in the ivory towers of the Parades Commission.”

    As the article above shows its not only republicans who have selective memory and attempt to re-write history. All those Catholics who were murdered by loyalists and the violence that followed because Orangemen were not allowed to walk down a road have been forgotten and dismissed.

    “The idea seems eminently sensible to me – to protect people not by just foiling individual terrorist actions, but by also undermining terrorist organisations from within, demoralising and confusing them and reducing their ability to operate freely. It was the duty of the security forces to try to do this, especially as the Troubles moved into its second decade with no sign of Republicans wanting to stop their campaign.”

    You didn’t even attempt to answer how many lives were saved by the actions of the RUC in giving a weapon to Loyalists paramilitaries that was later used to murder 7 innocent Catholics including one child so rather than point to the obvious contradictions in your analysis above I will break it down into language we all can understand.

    You are justifying the security forces especially the RUC engaging in a campaign of terrorism against the Catholic community by arming and allowing Loyalists to murder innocent Catholics in order to demoralise, frighten and intimidate them into submission, to force them into removing their support for Republicanism and accepting the status quo but this is not terrorism in your eyes this is morally justifiable and within the law, well in your world anyway.