Nigel Dodds Calls For The Truth Over Shankill Bombing

In a statement regarding Allison Morris’s Irish News story of prior police knowledge and inaction of the Shankill bombing, Nigel Dodds MP, DUP deputy leader, said:

“The mass sectarian murder of the Shankill Bomb was one of the most heinous acts perpetrated by the Provisional IRA. It was a premeditated slaughter of innocents, an event that stands out amongst the PIRA’s more than 1800 bloody murders.

Recent newspaper claims have refocused attention on this horrific act. Some of what has been written appears sensationalist and dubious. However, if only elements of it are true it is a matter of the deepest concern. Thus we must find a way to get to the truth.

Within the existing framework for victims the most obvious route is to pursue a complaint to the Police Ombudsman. The DUP has been in contact with the families’ spokesperson and the Party Leader, I and my North and West Belfast colleagues will meet with them as soon as possible to offer our full support.”

When just last week Dodds was faced with the question about state collusion in killings during the troubles, he seemed to casually dismiss it.

As mentioned in this article, regarding Alexander Litvenenko, I asked if it was hypocritical of the British Government (to grandstand about Russia’s actions), Dodds responded by saying, “Well I don’t agree at all, because, I mean, it’s entirely a spurious argument to make and I think its one that actually harks back to the past…, ” he then went on to discuss Litvenenko’s family and wider issues and gave the subject of collusion or state involvement in killings here no further reference.

Given that most of the incidents that are talked about as being linked to state collusion seem to fall heavily on the nationalist side – it’s interesting that referring to these is harking back to the past, but when The Irish News reveals possible security force involvement in the Shankill Bombing, 1993 isn’t in the past and is indeed worth his attention.

Nigel Dodds and First Minister Arlene Foster are now to meet the families of the victims of the Shankill Bombing, one wonders how many families of alleged state/security force linked killings they have previously met with personally following allegations such as these.

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  • Ernekid

    Does anyone else find this constant squabbling about what happened in the past really boring? Who cares anymore? It’s just really boring.

  • mickfealty

    I’m old enough to still care, but it is only boring because it comes packaged laden with promise but seemingly with no will do anything about it.

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    I’m of a stance somewhere inbetween you both. I’m not old enough (or unlucky enough) to have any personal stake in finding out what happened in the past – although I sympathise strongly with those who suffered and continue to do so. If there’s no apparant likelihood of a positive outcome though, it’s time for society to cut its losses.

  • Kev Hughes

    ‘When just last week Dodds was faced with the question about state collusion in killings during the troubles, he seemed to casually dismiss it.’

    Brass neck…

  • Kronsteen

    It’s not boring if it happens to have been your loved one who was blown to bits or shot dead, if it references an incident which took away your legs or face or arm.

    The scars of having suffered extreme cruelty, injustice and plain old unfairness remain and any update of any kind, any progress, is welcomed. It’s a part of the hunt for justice, closure, peace of mind, whatever you want to call it.

    Yet in understanding that, I have to say I agree with the sentiment. The fact is that this took place in a very different, if not too distant, past. People could spend the rest of their lives looking for that justice, for something to balance out the unfairness, but I fear they will never get it. Even if every person who killed or maimed anyone was rounded up and jailed for all of a handful of months, the scars would still be there.

    Northern Ireland as a whole should do the bravest thing it has ever done and draw the line under all of this. I recognise that’s an outrageous thing to say in the minds of many people who suffered a great deal, but I believe otherwise we’re on a road to nowhere.

    Soldiers, police, terrorists of all hues – set the date and draw the line. Prior to that date, the cases all get closed. It’s a bitter pill but the simplest, fairest solution.

    Besides all that, it’s pretty damn clear the PSNI cannot handle what is being asked of them.

  • Tochais Siorai

    Why was the bombing allowed to proceed? Was it incompetence or were the possible outcomes a win-win to a certain mindset within the intelligence services?

    1. If they also believed that Johnny Adair and his mates were meeting upstairs, then all going to plan there would be a few less nutters for them to deal with.
    2. If it went wrong and civilians were killed then it would be serious embarrassment for the IRA & a leg up for those in the ‘republican movement’ who wanted to concentrate on politics.

    Am I missing anything?

  • Kronsteen

    Sounds highly possible to me. Also possible they had no specific info about it beforehand but, all things considered, that seems less likely.

  • Chingford Man

    Can you give it a rest, Barman? As has been explained to you many times already, Dodds wanted to answer the question that was asked, which was not about Northern Ireland.

    Oh and I would imagine those families of “alleged state/security force linked killings” would probably not seek to meet the DUP with their concerns. So unless you can produce evidence that Foster and Dodds have unreasonably refused requests for meetings, perhaps you should refrain from insinuating hypocrisy?

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Isn’t justice a pillar of civilisation? If so that essential component of civilisation must be relentlessly pursued. If apathy/cynicism/boredom supplants this quest then we’re facing a big question as to what our civilisation is. This has got nothing to do with when our birth dates fell.

  • Gopher

    Jesus said let the dead bury the dead, not that I believe in Jesus but if I had of used the Tolstoy quote people would accuse one of being heartless. Care about what exactly? The truth? Seriously you cant even get that with meticulously logged events. Its totally absurd. Its running round chasing your tail. Read 5 autobiographies of people involved in the same historical event and you get 5 different versions. The only truth you will get is if people *want* to unload their conscience and knowing humans there certainly is not a totality with that, consciences are selective. Pass an act of oblivion and have done with it.

  • ted hagan

    It’s always the same with many unionists. Always the robotic answer that noone is above the law and that if there is any evidence against any members of the security forces they should face the courts blah, blah blah. They abhor all violence ‘from whatever quarter’ of course, they will say. But there’s never any reference to ‘heinous crimes’ or ‘sectarian slaughter’ or ‘brutal murder’ when it comes to security force collusion and assassinations; They just give the same pat answers.
    When politicians from both sides are able to condemn murders carried out on the other side equally and as strongly, then perhaps we will be getting somewhere. There were many dirty deeds carried out by rogue cops, rogue soldiers and British undercover operatives. Maybe the Dodds and Donaldsons of this world could open their eyes and start digging for answers, rather than tut-tutting, the shaking of heads and the whataboutery. .

  • mickfealty

    Yes. As someone put it to me this morning, truth cannot set you free, but justice can. I suspect that’s what every militant relatives group is really looking for. And would could blame them.

    The problematic bit is that we have agreed to a truncation of justice (the two year jail sentence, licensing arrangements and the odd judicious granting of a Royal Pardon), alongside a seeming blind British eye at the behest ( of some of those still ‘apparently’ still looking for justice for others.

  • Chingford Man

    I’m sure there were many of what you call “dirty deeds”. But where those deeds were directed against those active in the republican movement, I suspect most unionists would be reluctant to describe them as “heinous crimes”, “sectarian slaughter” or “brutal murder” because they would see them as irregular warfare.

  • Hugh Davison

    You have put your finger on it. The state is good when it does nasty things against themuns. When it’s ussuns, it’s easier to float past Khartoum on an Orange raft.

  • eireanne3

    “I and my North and West Belfast colleagues” – oh dear, oh dear Mr Dodds, Such ill-mannered egotism!!

  • CB

    When asked a straight question on the collusion involved in the murders of 15 (fifteen) of his constituents, Nigel’s first instinct wasn’t the pursuit of justice.

  • Discuscutter

    Did the handlers organize the bombing, select the target.

    That is the real question.

  • chrisjones2

    “Was it incompetence ” ….or is it all just a lie dreamed up by SF for political ends

  • chrisjones2

    What is justice?

    As the DPP said in the Derry case – the soldiers claimed a genuine fear and responded in split second. If it was genuine and there was no recklessness there was no crime.

    That does not mean it was right. It just means it was a genuine mistable (with awful consequences) and wasn’t criminal

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “What is justice?”

    The legal recognition of human suffering, and very occasionally, an attempt to publicly address that suffering with some fitting action. It is the isolation of those who have suffered by a society that does not want to be seen hanging out with such “losers” that is the problem. The boys who perpetrate violence are always the “winners” in any representation of these things, no matter how they may be criticised. This is why the perpetrators of violence, state or insurgent, have “superior rights” to those they have harmed, they are part of the “winning team” and, as Mick says, can demand “the two year jail sentence, licensing arrangements and the odd judicious granting of a Royal Pardon”…..or that the state finds good reasons not to look at what may have actually happened.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Ben de H, I remember that the French Revolutionary St Just said that “Happiness was a new concept in Europe” during the 1790s. Perhaps we need to all understand that “Justice”, (certainly as I’ve defined it below), is perhaps a very new concept in the Wee Six.

    But I fully agree with you that “If apathy/cynicism/boredom supplants this quest then we’re facing a big question as to what our civilisation is.” Truth does not cease to be truth with the passage of time, and while it may be set aside to suit the convenience of some, people who have suffered will continue to live their lives under this failure of their fellow citizens to address what they have experienced, and to endure ongoing suffering.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Usually I’d agree with you on most of the points you make, BB, but are you really saying that there is a category of citizen who have no right to ever having their suffering properly addressed?

    I am repelled when this who have no genuine stake in the suffering other than to employ these events for political ends, but there are those who live with great harms done to them and their families, and if society tells them that the ordinary everyday lives of those who have not experienced direct suffering require them to simply shut up, then the presedent this sets is highly dangerous for any fair and equable society. genuine reconciliation will never be build on such sand.