Belfast Telegraph

Enough talk, victims deserve some action

Editor's Viewpoint

The Irish Government is right. Those who lost loved ones in the Troubles have been let down for far too long and their hope of ever getting the truth about the killings, never mind justice, continues to ebb away. The Fresh Start agreement signed a year ago promised the establishment of institutions to delve into the awful legacy of the past, but to date nothing has happened.

While the pressure from the Irish Government may be slightly embarrassing for both the Secretary of State and the Stormont Executive, there are many in society who feel that for all the promises given to victims' families the views expressed in this newspaper today by Jude Whyte may be the most realistic appraisal. His mother was killed by the UVF in 1984 - a police officer also died in the bombing - and he has sat on the Victims and Survivors Forum for seven years. What he has to say makes difficult reading.

The Forum, established to help the families of those killed, is as divided as the outside society on who even is a victim. He is right that while the security forces have all the information required on deaths involving soldiers or police officers, much of it will never be revealed on the grounds of national security.

And who really believes that paramilitaries will admit to their heinous crimes? What possible incentive would those who believed they were fighting for Irish unity or defending the Union have for coming clean about their atrocities?

But that does not excuse inaction by the Executive or Secretary of State. There should be greater urgency in establishing the promised institutions, lest the impression should grow that these promises were just another cynical delaying ploy.

So where does that leave groups like those campaigning to know the truth behind the McGurk's Bar bombing and the misdirected investigation into it or the Kingsmill massacre or the Enniskillen bombing or... the list is endless.

Does the police investigation into the Bloody Sunday shootings in Londonderry offer hope that justice may be obtained in some cases? A file has been forwarded by detectives to the DPP, who now has to decide what, if any, action should be taken. But unionists claim such investigations are one sided and that victims of the IRA do not have the same chance of justice because of lack of evidence.

We have had endless discussion about helping the victims of the Troubles. Now we need action.

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