Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Why it's deja vu all over again after Haass talks

ROBIN Wilson's article, 'Stalemate: why history keeps repeating itself' (DebateNI, January 2), was an analysis of the Haass talks.

While few dispute Northern Ireland needs to move on from a tense peace, Wilson's thinking of how this should be done via a liberalist elite (NGOs such as Amnesty International) is worrying. Given Amnesty's constant criticism of the security effort since the early '70s – often disputed by secretaries of state and chief constables – the liberalist elite is hardly an independent arbiter.

And Northern Irish academics warn against including ex-security forces in truth-recovery mechanisms, as this would be prejudicial to a pursuit of justice.

To use a criminal justice analogy: a liberalist jury is being picked that reflects the nationalist perspective. If the majority's view of the conflict is to be represented (which doesn't buy into the Provos being peacemakers, or that security should not have been a priority), politicians who represent this majority need to start challenging these jury appointments and promote their own jurors.

If this is not done, one should not be surprised at the verdict. Indeed, this was the formula for creating new statutory instruments after the Belfast Agreement that has led to a one-sided investigation of the security forces and skewed and controversial findings by the Police Ombudsman and the HET. We have been here before and came up short. Hence, where we are today.

PLM

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