Belfast Telegraph

Now, can we be told truth about all the killings?

By Lindy McDowell

When I think of Bloody Sunday what I always think of first is the story of the mother of one of the young lads shot dead that day. Another son describes how afterwards she almost lost the will to go on.

Demented with grief she went out one winter’s night with a blanket to tuck around her child’s cold grave. To her dying day she kept the half-eaten chocolate bar he’d had in his pocket. And the blood stained babygro that somebody had used in desperation to try and staunch his blood

In the end that poor woman’s “closure” was her own death.

Would she have considered her wee boy’s life more precious than the £200m or thereabouts cost of the Bloody Sunday inquiry?

You don’t have to be a mother to know the answer to that one.

It is a cruel fact that in Northern Ireland there were thousands of mothers just like that woman. They lost sons, daughters, babies, children and adults. Gunned down. Blown up. Few of them got any form of justice.

Surely they also deserve a tilt at the truth about why the people they loved were killed?

In the glib, smartarse language of internet debate this is dismissed as “whataboutery”.

But it is an absolute fact that many victims’ relatives (and victims themselves) shedding tears this week as the spotlight has focused on Bloody Sunday have been weeping for their own loss. A loss that is conveniently forgotten by the rest of us.

When they consider that mega-million bill for the inquiry it’s not the cost to the public purse these people compute. But a heart-tearing equation about how their son or daughter’s life has seemingly been gauged worthless by comparison. The consensus is that after Saville, this sort of inquiry will never be held again.

But it is surely not beyond the ability of the Government to come up with another less costly, less lengthy way, to deliver justice on a wider, fairer scale.

Cutting out the extremely well-paid middle man might be a start. Of the Bloody Sunday lawyers, 14 made a million out of it. One for every life lost

But where do you start in tackling such a back catalogue of suffering and loss?

Interesting that attention is now swivelling to the actions of the likes of Martin McGuinness and the question of what he could shed light upon.

Wouldn’t it be a good starting point to have all the key paramilitary players in for public investigation into what they know?

The godfathers knew what went on behind the scenes. But the same men who consistently call for the truth from others, are cute enough and cocky enough to keep the truth of their own past hidden.

It says everything that they’re so rarely challenged about this.

The paramilitaries, on both sides, killed thousands. They were responsible for the vast majority of the victims of the Troubles. Yet those who faced the courts were generally the foot soldiers in the terror outfits.

Where the godfathers of terror were concerned, the only bucks that stopped with them were of the monetary variety.

Quite a few have gone on to cosy careers funded by the taxpayer. They too are in every sense now servants of the state.

It is entirely justifiable to demand answers about the bloody horror into which they have insight.

There is considerable truth still to be set free.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph