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Trevor Ringland: All relatives of the Troubles dead deserve the same review that the Finucane family are going to get

News Letter logo News Letter 02/12/2020
a man wearing a suit and tie © Trevor Ringland is a former Ireland rugby international, former political candidate, reconciliation ...

His murder was brutal, criminal and wrong and all the more appalling as it was carried out in front of his wife and children leaving them scarred for life.

During those times those charged with serious offences were entitled in our democracy to legal representation and Pat Finucane was one of those but it did carry risk, as was also the case for prosecution lawyers, judges, police officers and others in the justice system.

I am also aware that some of Pat Finucane’s brothers were convicted of being in the IRA and supported its use of violence to promote a constitutional preference.

Pat Finucane was one of many assassinated in a similar manner often in front of their family.

If our society agreed that such murders were wrong and unjustified then dealing with “legacy” would be straightforward. However I feel there are two communities on this island. Those who argue the use of violence to promote a constitutional preference was justified and right and those who strongly disagree.

I am firmly in the latter camp and regard the history of this Island as one of unnecessary conflicts.

We should remember that the main difficulty with dealing with ‘legacy’ is that at the insistence of the Irish government and political nationalism the main perpetrators of the crimes, the Provisional IRA, had to be involved in any peace/political process to try to bring to an end their war.

The reality is that the British government’s main desire is that the people of our ‘shared home place’ should live in peace together.

What they have proposed to Pat Finucane’s family, namely a case review followed by a decision how best to proceed after same could be rolled out amongst some 1423 or more outstanding murders (Serious injuries also), including those of over 700 members of the security services.

It would restore balance to legacy and leave each family in a better position to determine how best to progress their case. Or not.

If after such reviews any cases deserve a public inquiry then so be it.

After all, so many areas deserve closer scrutiny including who financed the IRA and its leadership during the conflict.

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