Interesting comments from the Bedfordshire Police Chief Constable Jon Boutcher who has been charged with investigating allegations relating to the activities of the head of the IRA’s crudely appellated Nutting Squad.
This week we have heard things that from what the families have told me they have never told anyone before because nobody has asked them.
What I have been told this week is significant evidence against the people responsible for these offences. He has asked the victims’ families to give him time to investigate and recover the evidence. It is incredible what I have heard.
There is a pessimism which I understand, I completely get, because people felt let down and almost abandoned.
Actually, the pessimism is real enough, and it is based mostly on lived experience of most victims of the Troubles. The public interest arguments which have been used by all sides is a particularly slippery obstacle to overcome.
As Barney Rowan notes over on Eamonn’s site:
It is also about the IRA – about those involved in interrogations and torture and about those who pulled triggers.
Boutcher will ask Sinn Fein to support his investigation, but what can he expect when he starts to ask republicans about Freddie Scappaticci or IRA internal security?
The answer to that question is silence.
The IRA (or whatever it is that remains of its interests today) is notoriously intolerant of any external investigation into its past, particularly where that past intersects with the machinations of the British secret services.
And the silence of one inevitably feeds off and justifies the silence of the other. The question is that once the investigation begins, what becomes of Mr Boutcher’s ‘significant evidence’?
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty