Editorial: The spotlight rightly turns on Ireland's role in the Troubles

Morning View (Photo: gina)
Morning View (Photo: gina)

​Two noteworthy comments were made on legacy yesterday deserve support.

​One remark was made by the campaigner for victims of terror, the largest Troubles group, Kenny Donaldson who said not everyone backed the Stormont House Agreement on the past.

The other was made by the Northern Ireland Secretary, Chris Heaton-Harris, who said he hopes Ireland will do all it can to support the new investigative body.

Mr Donaldson is right about Stormont House. His own group had grave concerns about that 2014 deal. The Ulster Unionist Party opposed it. Ex RUC were outraged at the injustice of police alone being investigated for non criminal misconduct without due process. This newspaper facilitated all such voices and we became increasingly clear that the agreement was a bad one. In the aftermath of 2014 the Malone House Group (MHG) was formed by a group of concerned voices, led by Jeff Dudgeon, several of whom are retired yet who became vital critics on legacy, while many unionist politicians failed to speak up.

The barrister Austen Morgan of MHG, opposite, rips apart the notion of the Republic of Ireland suing the UK for its legacy plan, when Ireland has had a de facto amnesty for IRA terrorists since 1998, and when an ex Taoiseach in effect demanded such.

One of the great failures of Stormont House, which has extended into the new legacy body, is that there is no process for investigating Ireland’s key role in the Troubles, above all its three decades of extradition refusals, which made it a base for IRA murderers, as a result of which many people died.

Mr Heaton-Harris is right to turn the spotlight on Dublin, although he did so gently. Given the scale of Irish hypocrisy a more forceful approach is needed, such as vowing that Ireland’s past will be examined if it co-operates or not.