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Public have right to know details of killer Black's funeral

Editor's Viewpoint

Published 30/01/2016

Robert Black
Robert Black

The funeral of the macabre child-killer Robert Black is reported in today's Belfast Telegraph, but the fact that we can bring these details to our readers at all, is nothing short of remarkable.

This is all the more so, given the baffling and excessive attempts by the Department of Justice to conceal these arrangements from the public.

Repeatedly we have asked the relevant officials to provide this information. They may have had bona fide reasons for withholding it, but we will never know what they were, because they have steadfastly refused to comment.

It is a long-established and cherished tradition in Britain that the media is regarded as the eyes and ears of the public. Sadly, however, the fact that on this occasion the Belfast Telegraph was unable to carry out this function of informing the public, does no credit to anyone directly involved.

The details of Black's funeral, which we bring you today, are due to our journalistic resourcefulness and perseverance.

In this particular case, there was an even-greater need for transparency, because Black was a man who lived in the shadows.

If one believes in human evil, Robert Black was evil incarnate. This is all the more reason why the last sombre acts of his funeral should be played out in public.

People deserve to know what is happening in the disposal of his remains.

No relatives of Robert Black came forward to claim his remains, and therefore the burden and cost of disposing of them was bound to fall on the ratepayer. The silence from Justice Minister David Ford, who is ultimately responsible for decisions taken on his watch, is perplexing. Perhaps Mr Ford might still choose to enlighten us about his thoughts on this matter.

Now that this tragic story has reached its final conclusion, all our thoughts must turn to where they properly belong, and that is to the relatives of Robert Black's victims, who will carry with them for ever the burden and consequences of his unspeakable evil.

Belfast Telegraph

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