What of “the law officers and soldiers gave their lives to protect the people and prevent a civil war”?

The irony of representatives of Northern Ireland’s political party’s trying to get the Secretary of State to resign over getting herself into a syllogistic mess (which Sinn Féin of all political parties reported as ‘offensive’) should not be lost in the recent controversy.

I had no problem pointing out the amateur hour nature of the mistake on Sky News that night but should not allow ourselves to lose complete perspective on the whole matter. Half of what she said was perfectly correct.

While 100% of all paramilitary killings were murder, not all state killings were. In other words, state involvement in murder during the Trouble is a small if significant subset of the ten percent of overall deaths cited by the Secretary of State.

Ex IRA man and fervent IRA critic, Shane Paul O’Doherty has a blog up which shows how from its very inception the southern state entertained no such ambiguity.  Republican prisoners were flogged, executed and allowed to die on hunger strike.

The killing of police brought the singular charge of capital murder. There are no such protections for the police in Northern Ireland.

What makes the legacy process (such it stands) has adopted a “deal with the easiest” approach. You can ask searching questions and pursue inquiries if you know from official reports who was where at a certain time on a certain day. Until the state says no.

But, as Trevor Ringland notes, there are over 700 murders of members of the security forces alone remain unsolved. In the News Letter he calls for…

…a clear plan, with resources, to deal with these murders, bearing in mind that the law officers and soldiers gave their lives to protect the people of this island and prevented a civil war?

The events that cost them their lives were an unnecessary tragedy.

Many others who were victims of loyalist and republican paramilitary violence, as well as some who were affected by police and army criminality, have stayed quiet and showed tremendous grace in order to let our peace / political process evolve.

The two governments have insulted those families time and again, by pandering to those who promoted hatred and fed our conflict. [Emphasis added]

The PSNI was created in order to create and build confidence within wider society, in policing. But wider society also needs to invest in the protection of those who chose to put their own lives and that of their families in harm’s way.

 

Photo by witwiccan is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

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