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We should close Northern Ireland Troubles files and leave the past where it belongs, in the past

There is anger, pain and grief in all sections of society affected by the Troubles, but endless inquiries aren't the answer, says Chris Ryder

Published 19/10/2016

Belfast IRA men on patrol with new drogue bomb in Northern Ireland 1987
Belfast IRA men on patrol with new drogue bomb in Northern Ireland 1987
Belfast IRA man on patrol in West Belfast 1987 - Pacemaker
IRA Bomb attack on the La Mon House Hotel
Customs officers check cars at the old Killen-Carrickarnon border post
MOURNERS CARRYING HURLING STICKS HEAD THE FUNERAL PROCESSION OF JOHN JOSEPH KAVANAGH, FOUND SHOT DEAD IN THE RIVER BLACKSTAFF. 27.01.1971.
John Hume is detained by soldiers during a civil rights protest in Londonderry in August 1971.
John Hume is detained by soldiers during a civil rights protest in Londonderry in August 1971.
La Mon House Hotel Provisional IRA Bomb Victim, Sandra Morris
La Mon House Hotel Provisional IRA Bomb Victim, Carol Mills
La Mon House Hotel Provisional IRA Bomb Victim, Christine Lockhart
RUC constable Victor Arbuckle who was shot during street disturbances on the Shankill Road Belfast. He was the first RUC man killed in the troubles. October 1969
Mrs Arbuckle, wife of constable Victor Arbuckle who was shot during the Shankill Road riots receives the Union Jack which covered the coffin during the funeral service at Roselawn Cemetry
Miami Showband massacre... A Ford Escort which was one of the cars used by loyalist gunmen, is left abandoned near the murder scene. 31/7/1975
Miami Showband
Darkley (Mountain Lodge Pentecostal Hall). The scene where three elders were shot dead by the INLA. The terrorists broke in during a church service. 20/11/1983
The children who escaped death by inches at Darkley, from left, Graham Ritchie, Helen Wilson, Nigel Wilson, Andrew Reid (standing) and Keith Ritchie, photographed the day after the INLA attack.
People's Democracy group organised a four-day march from Belfast to Londonderry, starting on 1/1/69. The most serious incident was near Burntollet Bridge in County Londonderry, when marchers were ambushed by some 200 loyalists.
First protest march to Belfast city centre. A crowd pictured at a meeting with Ian Paisley at Shaftesbury Square, Belfast. 9/10/1968.
Mr Austin Currie, MP, addressing the crowd.
People's Democracy group organised a four-day march from Belfast to Londonderry, starting on 1/1/69. The most serious incident was near Burntollet Bridge in County Londonderry, when marchers were ambushed by some 200 loyalists.
People's Democracy group organised a four-day march from Belfast to Londonderry, starting on 1/1/69. The most serious incident was near Burntollet Bridge in County Londonderry, when marchers were ambushed by some 200 loyalists.
The first Civil Rights (Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association) from Coalisland to Dungannon, held on 24/8/1968. Pictured is a member of the official party leading the civil rights marchers, appealing to the crowd, and requesting that there should be no violence during the march in Dungannon.
People's Democracy group organised a four-day march from Belfast to Londonderry, starting on 1/1/69. The most serious incident was near Burntollet Bridge in County Londonderry, when marchers were ambushed by some 200 loyalists.
First protest march to Belfast city centre. A crowd of students pictured at a meeting with Ian Paisley near Belfast City Hall. Pictured is Ciaran McKeown(with beard). 9/10/1968.
People's Democracy group organised a four-day march from Belfast to Londonderry, starting on 1/1/69. The most serious incident was near Burntollet Bridge in County Londonderry, when marchers were ambushed by some 200 loyalists.
Banned Derry Civil Rights march broken up by RUC batons in presence of Gerry Fitt MP, three British Labour MPs and television crew. Two nights of rioting ensued. 5/10/1968.
People's Democracy group organised a four-day march from Belfast to Londonderry, starting on 1/1/69. The most serious incident was near Burntollet Bridge in County Londonderry, when marchers were ambushed by some 200 loyalists.
People's Democracy group organised a four-day march from Belfast to Londonderry, starting on 1/1/69. The most serious incident was near Burntollet Bridge in County Londonderry, when marchers were ambushed by some 200 loyalists.
Banned Derry Civil Rights march broken up by RUC batons in presence of Gerry Fitt MP, three British Labour MPs and television crew. Two nights of rioting ensued. 5/10/1968.
People's Democracy group organised a four-day march from Belfast to Londonderry, starting on 1/1/69. The most serious incident was near Burntollet Bridge in County Londonderry, when marchers were ambushed by some 200 loyalists.
Banned Derry Civil Rights march broken up by RUC batons in presence of Gerry Fitt MP, three British Labour MPs and television crew. Two nights of rioting ensued. 5/10/1968.
People's Democracy group organised a four-day march from Belfast to Londonderry, starting on 1/1/69. The most serious incident was near Burntollet Bridge in County Londonderry, when marchers were ambushed by some 200 loyalists.
People's Democracy group organised a four-day march from Belfast to Londonderry, starting on 1/1/69. The most serious incident was near Burntollet Bridge in County Londonderry, when marchers were ambushed by some 200 loyalists.
Civil rights marchers are confronted by a strong force of polive in Duke Street. October 1968
People's Democracy group organised a four-day march from Belfast to Londonderry, starting on 1/1/69. The most serious incident was near Burntollet Bridge in County Londonderry, when marchers were ambushed by some 200 loyalists.
Banned Derry Civil Rights march broken up by RUC batons in presence of Gerry Fitt MP, three British Labour MPs and television crew. Two nights of rioting ensued. 5/10/1968.
People's Democracy group organised a four-day march from Belfast to Londonderry, starting on 1/1/69. The most serious incident was near Burntollet Bridge in County Londonderry, when marchers were ambushed by some 200 loyalists.
People's Democracy group organised a four-day march from Belfast to Londonderry, starting on 1/1/69. The most serious incident was near Burntollet Bridge in County Londonderry, when marchers were ambushed by some 200 loyalists.
People's Democracy group organised a four-day march from Belfast to Londonderry, starting on 1/1/69. The most serious incident was near Burntollet Bridge in County Londonderry, when marchers were ambushed by some 200 loyalists.
Sir John Hermon, the former Chief Constable of the RUC at the funeral of the RUC's 100th victim of the Troubles, Constable Neill Quinn. Newry 22/6/1081
Betty Williams, former leader of the NI Peace People, pictured with Mairead Corrigan.
UDA members being carried in a Land Rover along the Shankill Road. 22/05/72.
A soldier recieves first aid after being injured by debris after a car bomb exploded on the Crumlin Road. 29/05/72
Riots in Belfast.
UDR colleagues fire a volley of shots over the grave of Private Steven Smart, at Movilla Cemetary. Private Smart was killed along with three others after an IRA bomb blew up their Land Rover in Downpatrick. 13/04/90
Troops and UDA members on joint patrol at Clon Duff Drive in Castlereagh Road area of Belfast, 1972.
The funeral of RUC man William Russell, shot while investgating a burglary at the Avoca Shopping Centre, Andersontown, Belfast
Hunger striker Bobby Sands coffin, flanked by an IRA colour party, leaving his mother's home in Twinbrook.
Bobby Sands' son Robert Gerald holds his mother's hand at the funeral of his father Bobby in west Belfast flanked by Masked IRA men. Picture by Martin Wright
Army engineers take away the fallen statue of the famous Protestant minister The Rev 'Roaring Hugh Hanna' after an early morning IRA bomb blast at Carlisle Circus. 3/3/1970
Newly elected DUP MP Peter Robinson and his wife Iris. 4/5/1979
Peter Robinson about to invade the small village of Clontibret, Co Monaghan, in 1986.
Gerry Adams and Brendan Hughes in Long Kesh
Martin McGuinness in Derry's Bogside at a press conference. 1971
Members of the UDA provide an escort at the funeral of 30 year old John Lunnen Brown, a UDA volunteer, of Blackmountain Park, Springmartin. 01/07/72.
Northern Ireland Troubles Gallery: Mrs Mary Meehan who was shot by the army in Cape Street, 23rd october 1971. Family photo.
Northern Ireland Troubles Gallery: Scots Guardsman, Paul Nicholls, from Caithness, killed by an IRA sniper on the Falls Road, Belfast. 1971
Scene of the IRA bomb and shooting attack at Loughall Police Station which resulted in 8 IRA and 1 Civilian being killed.
Supporters of the UDA preparing food to be used by UDA members in the Shankill Road area. 02/07/72
A UDA checkpoint barrier at Moat Road. 08/06/72
UDA on the streets of Londonderry. 30/09/72
Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney, who spent 53 days on IRA hunger strike.
Some of the 24 Ulsterbuses which were burnt out after an IRA attack on the depot in Armagh. 28/4/1982.
Mourners panicking at Milltown Cemetery, Belfast, after a gun and bomb attack by Michael Stone which left three people dead and four seriously injured during the funerals of three IRA membes shot dead in Gibraltar. 1988
Joan Travers and her daughter Ann at the funeral of her other daughter, Mary, shot dead by IRA gunmen in Windsor Avenue, Belfast. while walking home from Mass with her father Judge Tom Travers. 1984
Ian Paisley at the scene of the IRA motar attack on Newry Police Station. which killed 9 officers. 28/2/1985.
President of Sinn Fein Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness at the funeral of Patrick Kelly . 1987
Martin Meehan (centre) with Gerry Adams at a funeral in Belfast in 1971 of a Belfast IRA commander.
UDA men line up for inspection at Bloomfield before the march. 30/09/72
Reverend Martin Smyth and Billy Hull with UDA leaders. 1972
The Shankill Road member. 1972
A man is frisked by masked members of the UDA at a barricade on the Lisburn Road end of Sandy Row. 1972
Belfast, Bloody Friday, 21 July, 1972, the IRA set off 26 explosions in Belfast, which killed 11 people and injured 130. 7 people were killed in Oxford Street bus station and 4 at a shopping centre on the Cavehill Road.
Riots in Belfast, 1969
A man talks to soldiers over the barricade, in Divis Street, Belfast. 16/8/1969
Respects are paid to the victims of Bloody Friday, Oxford Street, Belfast
Rioting in Belfast, 1962
A family flee their home during rioting in Belfast 1969
Belfast 1969
British soldiers patrol Belfast in 1969
Belfast City Hall bombed. 23/5/1994.
O'Tooles Bar (The Heights), in the quiet Co Down village of Loughinisland where UVF gunmen burst in opened fire, during a World Cup match on June 18, 1994.
O'Tooles Bar (The Heights) in the Co. Down village of Loughinisland. Six men were shot dead by two UVF gunmen, while they were watching the 1994 World Cup on television.
The ruins of McGurks Bar. Dec 1971
UDA barricades off Ainsworth Avenue. 04/07/72
John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono raise their fists as they join a protest in this Feb. 5, 1972, file photo in front of British Overseas Airways Corp. offices in New York on Fifth Avenue. The demonstrators called for the withdrawal of British troops from Northern Ireland.
Martin McGuinness handcuffed to a policeman after being remanded at Special Criminal Court in Dublin, January 1973.
SDLP press conference with John Hume, Gerry Fitt, Austin Currie and Paddy Devlin. 11/09/75
Behind the barbed wire of long kesh internment camp are SDLP MPs(from left)Paddy Devlin, Austin Currie, John Hume and Ivan Cooper. They were visiting internees. 21/09/71
Billy Wright ,loyalist fanatic who was shot dead in the Maze Prison, was leader of the renegade Loyalist Volunteer Force
Ulster Vanguard Movement: Ulster Vanguard Association Rally at Stormont. 29/03/72
William Craig:Leader of the Vanguard Unionist Progressive party.
Ulster Vanguard Movement: A section of the crowd at the Vanguard Association Rally at Ormeau Park. 18/03/72
Ulster Defence Association/U.D.A: 1972. Delegates at the talks between Vanguard, Ulster Defence Association and the Loyalist Association of Workers.
Ulster Vanguard Movement:September 1972.
As the Queen was visiting Belfast city centre in 1977, soldiers came under attack a few hundred yards away in the republican Falls Road area. An army captain was seperated from his unit and was being heavily stoned and kicked when a 'snatch squad' of his troops rushed the crowd to rescue him from the mob.
RUC: Police officers at the 12th parades at Portadown 1985.
The body of catholic man lies in an entry off the Shankill Road in West Belfast after being murdered by members of the Shankill butchers. 25/10/82. Pacemaker Press
Shankill Butcher Lenny Murphy
William Moore aka Shankill Butcher gang member. Pacemaker Press
Con Neeson who was killed by the Shankill butchers in the late 70's. Pacemaker Press
Shankill Butcher Edward McIlwaine. Pacemaker Press
Robert "Basher" Bates: Shankill butcher
A man with slashed wrists after an attack by the Shankill Butchers. Pacemaker Press
Some of the knives used by the Shankill Butchers in their attacks. Pacemaker Press
THE TROUBLES GALLERY - Drumcree
Orangemen On The Garvaghy Road, July 2000
Portadown March at Drumcree bridge July 2002 Portadown District Orangemen parade down to the barrier at Drumcree before trouble flared
Drumcree, Northern Ireland. A makeshift road block on main road into Portadown town centre
An injured woman is led away, Drumcree July 1997
A petrol bomber on the Garvaghy Road
Orangemen go no further as they reach the barrier at Drumcreee preventing them from marching on the Garvaghy Rd.
Tempers flare as Orangemen are blocked from walking the Garvaghy Rd, Drumcree, July 2000
Orangemen at Drumcree
Drumcree July 2000
Drumcree - July 6th 2002. Soldiers erect a security fence at Drumcree Church in Portadown.
PSNI riot team firing plastic bullets
Drumcree Orange Parade At Portadown July 1998. Portadown Grand Master Harold Gracey gives a speech to the crowds outside Drumcree Church of Ireland.
Orange Order: Drumcree, Portadown
GARVAGHY RD JULY 1996. POLICE OFFICERS REMOVE PROTESTING NATIONALISTS FROM GARVAGHY RD.
GARVAGHY RD JULY 1996. POLICE OFFICERS REMOVE PROTESTING NATIONALISTS FROM GARVAGHY RD.
DAVID TRIMBLE MAKES HIS WAY TO GREET THE PORTADOWN ORANGEMEN AFTER THEY MARCHED DOWN GARVAGHY RD 1996.
4/7/03 Garvaghy road residents spokesman Brendan MacCoinnaith pictured in Portadown.
Drumcree Orange Order Demonstration Scarfs drapped around the Road Sign of Drumcree near Portadown
Nationalist protesters walk to Garvaghy Road July 1997. Residents Coalition in Drumcree Portadown to voice their anger at Loyalist Parades through their area
Nationalist Protest March At Garvaghy Road March 1998. Brid Rodgers and Brendan McKenna in attendance at Garvaghy Road demonstration, Portadown
Northern Ireland Troubles gallery.....Nationalist Protest March At Garvaghy Road March 1998. Security Forces kept a Loyalist counter demonstration at a safe distance from Nationalist marchers near Oben Street, Portadown
Nationalist Protest March At Garvaghy Road March 1998. A young Loyalist waves the Union Jack at Royal Ulster Constabulary police in riot gear, from the Loyalist side of the town of Portadown, Northern Ireland, as a nationalist-republican protest march, passed by peacefully down the Nationalist Garvaghy road.
STAND-OFF BETWEEN PSNI AND ORANGEMEN.
Disturbances On Garvaghy Road Portadown May 1998. Rioters hurl stones at RUC riot police on the Garvaghy Road, Portadown, Northern Ireland, during disturbances following an Orange parade in the area.
An RUC officer fires plastic bullets at rioting nationalists on the Garvaghy Road
Garvaghy Road Residents Meet With David Trimble May 99. Brendan McKenna arrives at Craigavon Civic Centre to meet the First Minister David Trimble in an effort to solve the Drumcree stand off.
RIR Support The Orangemen At Drumcree January 2000. Members of the Royal Irish Regiment with a flag supporting Orangemen in Drumcree.
Army Prepare For Drumcree July 2001
Kathleen Feeney, 14, who was shot dead by an IRA gunman in Londonderry in a failed ambush on British troops. November 1973
Funeral courtege of Kathleen Feeney, 14, who was shot dead by an IRA gunman in Londonderry in a failed ambush on British troops. November 1973
Police and rioters clash in Londonderry after an Apprentice Boys march, 1969.
Martin McGuinness, Sinn Fein, pictured leaving court in Belfast after charges against him involving IRA membership were dropped 1976.
Royal Highland Fusilier, Robert Thompson from Hamilton, Scotland who was killed in Northern Ireland. July 27 1980
In March 1988 two corporals, Derek Wood and David Howes, were stripped, beaten and shot dead, after driving into the path of a republican funeral in Belfast.
In March 1988 two corporals, Derek Wood and David Howes, were stripped, beaten and shot dead, after driving into the path of a republican funeral in Belfast.
In March 1988 two corporals, Derek Wood and David Howes, were stripped, beaten and shot dead, after driving into the path of a republican funeral in Belfast.
In March 1988 two corporals, Derek Wood and David Howes, were stripped, beaten and shot dead, after driving into the path of a republican funeral in Belfast.
In March 1988 two corporals, Derek Wood and David Howes, were stripped, beaten and shot dead, after driving into the path of a republican funeral in Belfast.
Images from the Belfast Telegraph Troubles Gallery IRA checkpoint, the early 1970's
Remains of the van in which 7 workmen were killed in an IRA landmine explosion in Teebane, Co.Tyrone. Pacemaker Press
Remains of the van in which 7 workmen were killed in an IRA landmine explosion in Teebane, Co.Tyrone. 18/01/92. Pacemaker Press
William Bleakes, one of the 7 workmen killed in the IRA 600lb bomb blast on the Omagh to Cookstown road at the Teebane crossing. Pacemaker Press
Cecil James Caldwell, one of the 7 workmen killed in the IRA 600lb bomb blast on the Omagh to Cookstown road at the Teebane crossing. Pacemaker Press
David Harkness, one of the 7 workmen killed in the IRA 600lb bomb blast on the Omagh to Cookstown road at the Teebane crossing. Pacemaker Press
Nigel McKee, one of the 7 workmen killed in the IRA 600lb bomb blast on the Omagh to Cookstown road at the Teebane crossing. Pacemaker Press
Robert Irons, one of the 7 workmen killed in the IRA 600lb bomb blast on the Omagh to Cookstown road at the Teebane crossing. Pacemaker Press
Catholic school children and their parents make their way to Holy Cross school under a heavy police and British Army presence in the Ardoyne area of North Belfast, Northern Ireland, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2001. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
School children and parents with RUC officers who had to escort them to the Holy Cross Primary School Ardoyne today. Photo by: Niall Marshall
Paulette Donnelly with her parents arriving at Holy Cross Girls primary School after walking through "Corridor of Hate" on Friday (7/9/01).
Holy Cross School, November 2001. Children laugh and sing as they make there way up the Ardoyne Road this morning after loyalist protests were suspended and things start to get back to normal for the first time since school term started in September of this year
Ardoyne residents try to overturn an army landrover in Ardoyne avenue after trouble flared up again outside the nearby Holycross school. Picture: Pacemaker
Alice Lee Bunting in tears as she makes her way to Holy Cross Primary School
Fr Aidan Troy at the front gates of Holy Cross Girls School
Holy Cross Primary School.
Holy Cross Primary School.
Holy Cross Primary School.
Smoke spreads as a pipe bomb explodes after it was thrown at police and army lines by protesting loyalists this morning in the Glenbryn area of Ardoyne, North Belfast, after Holy Cross Primary school children were marched through lines of Police and army on the second day back to school.
Holy Cross Primary School Protest September 2001. The postman was the only sign of normality this morning on the Ardoyne Rd as despite all that has been happening - the mail got through.
Holy Cross Primary School Protest September 2001. Riot police and army march Holy Cross school children and their parents past burnt out cars and protesting loyalists on their second day back to school in Ardoyne, North Belfast this morning.
An injured police officer is helped by two of his colleagues after a pipe bomb was thrown at them from protesting loyalists this morning in the Glenbryn area of Ardoyne, North Belfast, after Holy Cross Primary school children were marched through lines of Police and army on the second day back to school.
Terrified school children after a blast bomb was launched by protesting loyalists. The blast bomb injured one policeman and a police dog, this is the third morning trouble has flared as catholic parents and their children through a protestant area to the Holy Cross Primary School in Ardoyne, North Belfast.
Terrified school children after a blast bomb was launched by protesting loyalists. The blast bomb injured one policeman and a police dog, this is the third morning trouble has flared as catholic parents and their children through a protestant area to the Holy Cross Primary School in Ardoyne, North Belfast.
Terrified school children after a blast bomb was launched by protesting loyalists. The blast bomb injured one policeman and a police dog, this is the third morning trouble has flared as catholic parents and their children through a protestant area to the Holy Cross Primary School in Ardoyne, North Belfast.
An injured police officer is helped into an ambulance by his colleagues after a blast bomb was thrown at them from protesting loyalists in the Glenbryn area of Ardoyne, North Belfast, this morning, this is the third morning trouble has flared as catholic parents and their children through a protestant area to the Holy Cross Primary School in Ardoyne, North Belfast.
Police officers carry an injured dog away to get medical help after a blast bomb was launched by protesting loyalists
Catholic Holy Cross Primary School children in tears as their parents march them through armed police and army lines who where holding back protesting protestant residents in Ardoyne, North Belfast, on their first day back to school this morning.
Catholic Holy Cross Primary School children in tears as their parents march them through armed police and army lines who where holding back protesting protestant residents in Ardoyne, North Belfast, on their first day back to school this morning.
Protestant school children who were separated from their parents, scream for their mothers who were held behind armed police and army lines, before the catholic Holy Cross school children were brought to school in Ardoyne this morning.
Catholic schoolchildren are shepherded past protestant protesters at Ardoyne Road.
Holy Cross Primary School Protest And Riots Sept 2001
Holy Cross Primary School Protest In Belfast
Catholic children walking to the Holy Cross Primary School.
A pupil from the Holy Cross school in North Belfast interferance where trouble has been erupting for several weeks.
Ardoyne Road parents and their children on their way to Holy Cross Girls Primary School in what is now the tenth week of the dispute and loyalist protest.
Army bomb disposal experts blow up a second device in a grate beside a protestants car parked near the entrance to the Holy Cross Catholic Shool after having dealt with a suspect bomb across the road in the Protestant Wheatfield Primary And Nursery school.
Security forces keep a watchful eye as a young girl and her father walk up the Ardoyne Road in North Belfast to Holy Cross school. Police stepped up their security outside North Belfast schools after recent threats and trouble as parents walked their children to school.
Father Aiden Troy - Chairman of Board of Governors of Holy Cross School - discusses the sitation with a senior police officer on Ardoyne road
A man receiving attention during the shooting incident in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, which became known as Bloody Sunday, January 31, 1972.
Scenes from 'Bloody Sunday' in Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Stewart Gardner, Argylls second lieutenant of Dollar shot dead at Crossmaglen, Co Armagh. September 22nd 1972.
Government of Northern Ireland: The Executive. December 1973.
The Belfast Telegraph Troubles Gallery
The explosion of a bomb in the crowded central Belfast restaurant, the Abercorn, on 4th March 1972, was one of the most horrific incidents of the Northern Ireland violence. Two women were killed - 130 people injured.
The explosion of a bomb in the crowded central Belfast restaurant, the Abercorn, on 4th March 1972, was one of the most horrific incidents of the Northern Ireland violence. Two women were killed - 130 people injured.
The explosion of a bomb in the crowded central Belfast restaurant, the Abercorn, on 4th March 1972, was one of the most horrific incidents of the Northern Ireland violence. Two women were killed - 130 people injured.
The explosion of a bomb in the crowded central Belfast restaurant, the Abercorn, on 4th March 1972, was one of the most horrific incidents of the Northern Ireland violence. Two women were killed - 130 people injured.
Pictured is Jimmy Stewart, who lost both legs in the Abercorn Restaurant explosion. The explosion of a bomb in the crowded central Belfast restaurant, the Abercorn, on 4th March 1972, was one of the most horrific incidents of the Northern Ireland violence. Two women were killed - 130 people injured.
A casualty of the riots in Northern Ireland in 1972
Northern Ireland murder victim Irene Andrews who was murdered by John White on the 26th June 1973.
Belfast Fire Brigade Station officer McCleery, being carried from a bomb explosion, Cromac Street, circa 1971.
Peter Robinson of the DUP pictured in the Israeli Border Area with AK47 rifles while on a fact finding mission to the Middle East. Pacemaker Press Intl. Dec. 1984
Armed soldiers behind a wall on Londonderry's Bogside.
Main Street Claudy in August 1972 when three Provisional IRA car bombs exploded without warning, killing 9 local people and injuring many others.
John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono raise their fists as they join a protest in front of British Overseas Airways Corp. offices in New York on Fifth Avenue, Feb 5th 1972. The demonstrators called for the withdrawal of British troops from Northern Ireland.
Funeral of Walter Moore, who was shot while in a shop at the rear of Oldpark RUC base, Oldpark Road Belfast
Gordon Wilson. Irish Senator who's daughter Marie was a victim of the Ennieskillen Remembrance Day explosion in 1987. Pictured with his grandson Timothy.
The funeral of Marie Wilson, killed along with 10 others in no warning explosion during a Remembrance Day Service at Enniskillen Cenotaph. 8/11/1987
William Hughes who was killed in shooting incident due to a mistake by gunmen. The car they were sitting in near Coagh, Co. Tyrone looked like a police car. In the hail of gunfire directed at the car, William Hughes died. His daughter Ann and her fiance Malachy Foye were wounded.
Anglo Irish Agreement Protest Rally outside Belfast City Hall, with Unionists showing a united front. 'Ulster Says No'. 10/12/1985
The scene outside Graham's bookmakers shop, North Queen Street after a shooting where five men were injured. 29/04/1993
The scene outside Graham's bookmakers shop, North Queen Street after a shooting where five men were injured. 29/04/1993
Hugh O'Toole, owner of O'Tooles Bar (The Heights), Loughinisland, in which six men were shot dead watching the 1994 World Cup on television.
Reggie and Walter Chapman: Protestant brothers brutally murdered on a lonely roadside in S. Armagh. Kingsmill Massacre/Shooting. 5/1/1976. Their Bessbrook funeral. 8/1/1976.
Alan Black, a survivor of the Kingsmill, Armagh Massacre/Shooting, when he was shot with his 10 workmates in an ambush on their way home from work by gunmen. 5/1/1976
Unionist protests at visit to Belfast of Charles Haughey, former Taoiseach. Pictured are Peter Robinson, deputy leader of the DUP, intervening as Cedric Wilson is led away from the Europa. 11/4/1990.
Unionist protests at visit to Belfast of Charles Haughey, former Taoiseach. Pictured Rev Ian Paisley. 11/4/1990.
Mr Roddy Connolly of Bray, unveils a plaque at 420 Falls Road, Belfast, where his father, James Connolly, the 1916 leader, lived from 1907-10 while working in the north for the Irish Transport and General Workers Union. Connolly was born 100 years previous to the plague being unveiled (pictured here in 1968). The plaque was donated by MP Mr Gerry Fitt (also pictured).
Lord Gerry Fitt, founding member of SDLP and Civil Rights Organiser. Pic shows Gerry Fitt, then a republican MP, is held by police as the Civil Rights demonstrators clash with them in Duke Street, Londonderry. Pic includes nationalist leader Eddie mcAteer (centre) caught up in the struggle. 7/10/1968.
Ronnie Flanagan, former RUC chief constable
Richard Alan Baird (28) killed by a remote controlled bomb hidden in a parked van. The bomb was detonated when a RUC mobile patrol drove past in Bessbrook Co. Armagh. Also killed in the blast were Paul Gray (25) , Robert Lockhast (44) and Noel Webb (30) 17/4/1979
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams pictured canvassing with Martin McGuinness, Alex Maskey and Danny Morrison shortly after he was shot and injured in a UDA gun attack in Belfast city centre.
Scene where Michael Tighe (17) was shot dead by RUC when found with rifles in a shed in Lurgan. 24/11/1982.
An army bomb disposal expert in flameproof suit and padded body armour tackles an incendiary bomb at a clothing shop in the cetre of Belfast in 1984.
Crumlin Road Jail. The scene outside as traffic on the Crumlin road is searched by the RUC following the escape. 17/11/1971
RUC Constable Michael Frederick Leslie Marshall, killed in an IRA ambush in Beleek. Forensics examine Constable Marshall's Sierra 21.10.1989
A man is taken away by troops in the Markets area, Belfast as searches followed vicious shooting battles between gunmen and army. 11/8/1971.
Sir John Herman, former RUC chief constable and his bride Sylvia
Ian Paisley confronts an RUC officer when refused access to Duke Street where the Civil Rights parade went on. 10/10/1988
Banned Derry Civil Rights march broken up by RUC batons in presence of Gerry Fitt MP, three British Labour MPs and television crew. Two nights of rioting ensued. 5/10/1968
Banned Derry Civil Rights march broken up by RUC batons in presence of Gerry Fitt MP, three British Labour MPs and television crew. Two nights of rioting ensued. 5/10/1968.
Ballgawley Bus Bomb. The scene of the explosion. 20/08/88
Warrenpoint (Narrow Water Castle) where 18 soldiers were killed 27/8/1979. A grim reconstruction of the scene at narrow water, Warrenpoint. An Army helicopter flies in past a replica of the hay lorry which hid the first bomb. 31/8/1979.
Lisburn Fun Run, 6 soldiers killed. All that ramains of their van after a IRA bomb explosion. 15/6/1988.
Bomb blast at the Seaforde Street army post on Belfast's Newtownards Road. 17/09/1971
Bomb making lessons in the maze prison.
Rose and Crown Bar. Two men were killed and 27 injured when a bomb went off in the hallway of the bar. 2nd May 1974
North Street Arcade. A bomb exploded prematurely, killing four people and injuring twenty. 13th January 1976.
Ann Street. A huge bomb planted in a car had exploded causing extensive damage. 28th May 1972.
Abercorn Restaurant. The explosion of a bomb in the crowded central Belfast restaurant, the Abercorn , on 4th March 1972, was one of the most horrific incidents of the Northern Ireland violence. Two women were killed - 130 people injured.
Abercorn Restaurant. The explosion of a bomb in the crowded central Belfast restaurant, the Abercorn , on 4th March 1972, was one of the most horrific incidents of the Northern Ireland violence. Two women were killed - 130 people injured.
Abercorn Restaurant bomb. Tom McFarlane
Abercorn Restaurant bomb. Rosaleen McNern (right) who lost both legs, an arm and an eye - her sister Jennifer (left) lost both legs.
Sir Edward Carson inspecting the U.V.F 1913
Glory days: Sir Edward Carson rallying the unionist faithful
RUC policeman, DS John Bennison killed in booby trap car bomb in the grounds of Magee College, Londonderry. The coffin is carried from his home at Tyler Avenue, Limavady. 23.3.1987
The funeral of DI Austin Wilson, an RUC man killed in a booby trap car bomb in the grounds of Magee College, Londonderry. 23.3.1987
THE IRA FUNERAL ON THE FALLS ROAD OF ROSE CURRY, KILLED IN A PREMATURE BOMB EXPLOSION AT MERRION STREET, LOWER FALLS BELFAST
A child lies by a litter bin after an IRA bomb blast in Warrington town centre 1993
Steel helmeted police at a burning barricade across Shankill Road, Belfast, littered with stones and debris after a spree of rioting. 1969
Loyalists waving a Union Jack surround Home Secretary James Callaghan on the Shankill Road, Belfast. 28/8/1969.
The body of Joseph Donegan, discovered in an entry off Battenberg Street in Belfast's Shankill Road area, lies covered by a blanket. 25/10/1982.
Harry Ward was shot dead in The Diamond Jubilee Bar, Shankill Road, Belfast October 1991. Pictured is his sister Sadie, being led away from the scene.
DESMOND BOAL IS HELD ALOFT BY JUBILANT UNIONIST SUPPORTERS AT THE BELFAST CITY HALL AS THE RESULT OF THE SHANKILL BY-ELECTION IS ANNOUNCED. 17/2/1960

Hardly a day goes by without one or other group calling for inquests, a public inquiry, a new investigation, or justice arising from events during the Troubles. There is a huge and swelling residue of loss, anger, grief and hurt on all sides, but especially among the relatives of the 3,600 murder victims and the survivors of the estimated 500,000 crimes which were committed during the 30 years of conflict since 1968, very many of which remain unsolved.

But the merits of virtually re-running the tragedies of the Troubles by formal investigative, or judicial, means must be questioned on several fundamental counts:

Is it in the wider public interest to pick so deeply at the scabs of our violent history that we prevent them from ever healing?

Is the vast cost in financial and human terms truly worth it, in that any process will inevitably stretch indefinitely into the future, prejudicing our fragile peace process, denying many of the victims and survivors - the real casualties of our conflict - any meaningful remedy?

As any truth process will inevitably be a selective one, how can it satisfy all the outstanding issues, with the added danger that only those who have campaigned the most vigorously will have their concerns assuaged? Many survivors nurse their grief and grievances in private solitude.

For fundamentally differing reasons, the various parties to what has become known as the "legacy" issue have adopted such rigid and unyielding standpoints that many people believe the real objective is to indefinitely smother any rigorous investigative process until those with long-lingering concerns either lose interest, or themselves pass away.

Another factor in the deadlock is concern to protect reputations, or revise the historical narrative, for partisan ends. Against this background, it is necessary to outline the standpoints and attitudes of the main participants to understand the deadlock.

The Cost of the Troubles academic study attributes most of the fatalities - 59% - to the various republican groups, overwhelmingly the Provisional IRA. But, nearly two decades into the "peace process", they have maintained a rigid omerta, refusing to reveal, or elaborate in anything but obscure, or general terms, about what they did and why.

Indeed, Gerry Adams, who was a very public proponent of the republican campaign, consistently insists he was never even in the IRA.

His confrere, Martin McGuinness, has adopted a more subtle standpoint: he will confess all only when a comprehensive "truth recovery" process is in place, an unlikely prospect given the ongoing deadlock. Memoirs by former activists have revealed sometimes contradictory insights, but the bigger picture remains wilfully opaque.

The study estimates that 28% of victims were killed by loyalist paramilitaries, whose ongoing activities are dominated by drug-trafficking and organised crime using patriotism as a mask for rampant criminality.

Here, too, there is a marked reluctance to reveal anything of the rationale for the many atrocities attributed to them, but some former members have decided to tell all in return for immunity from prosecution by testifying against their former comrades in crime.

These individuals, along with various official reports, have revealed scandalous links to and actual collusion with rogue members of the security forces, helping them to target victims and even escape detection. Such proven links have combined to foster a wider sense of injustice and undermine the very integrity of the police and Army charged with protecting the wider community.

While the vast majority of police officers and soldiers operated with brave and selfless commitment (302 RUC and 763 soldiers died), 11% of all fatalities were caused by the security forces, frequently in controversial circumstances, fuelling allegations of a tacit "shoot-to-kill" policy encouraged by nods and winks from on high that those concerned would be protected from prosecution.

Against this background, it was inevitable that any post-peace efforts to resolve the enduring inheritance of the violent years would become a major political issue, primarily for both the sovereign Irish and British Governments, the most influential partners in the agreements that underpinned the end of the conflict. For their own reasons, both have been presented with sensitive questions they would rather not answer publicly.

Although the Irish Government was not a direct party to the conflict, it was dragged into the collateral machinations and, from time to time, presented with legal and political dilemmas overspilling the border.

It caused much British frustration by refusing to extradite suspects north because their claim to have committed "political" offences was originally upheld by the Irish courts.

There were also a number of outrages in Dublin, as well as numerous cross-border incidents, which remain mysteries, because they may reveal embarrassing failings. The Smithwick Tribunal (€15m) into the 1989 murder of two senior RUC officers as they crossed the border, reinforced allegations that cross-border security and co-operation was far from ideal for many years.

This sobering outcome for the Irish Government was equivalent, for the British Government, to the Saville report (cost £195m over 12 years) into the events of Bloody Sunday in 1972, when British soldiers were held responsible for the deaths of 13 unarmed civilians.

But any hopes that the British Government had that the thoroughness and cost of the investigation would calm calls for similarly exhaustive processes have been dashed. Instead, they have been forced to pour many more millions of pounds into historical investigations, with more being demanded, triggering a process which has been haunted by general dissatisfaction on the part of the victims and survivors exacerbated by the unwillingness of many former police officers and soldiers to assist.

Although many instances of unlawful conduct by members of the security forces were conclusively established, the vast majority of former soldiers and police officers now deeply resent the perception that the primary focus of post-peace investigation is overwhelmingly centred on their conduct in entirely trying and dangerous circumstances.

There is particular resentment that the soldiers involved in Bloody Sunday are being tracked down and interviewed as part of a criminal investigation. As a result, a coalition of former soldiers who were injured in terrorist incidents have themselves made complaints to the police in Northern Ireland seeking to have equally vigorous investigations to bring their attackers to justice.

Retired police officers, too, have voluntarily funded legal proceedings to clear the RUC of wrongdoing as a result of damning reports from the PSNI and the Police Ombudsman.

The DUP, whose leader, Arlene Foster, the daughter of a former police officer who survived a murder bid at the family home, has vetoed the £10m requested by the Lord Chief Justice, because she fears outstanding legacy inquests will further besmirch the reputation of the police and Army.

For its part, Sinn Fein is frustrated that the British Government clings to the spurious need to protect national security to avoid having to disclose anything about the secret war involving undercover units and informers, often with collusion between security forces and loyalist terrorists.

At present, the two governments and the Stormont parties are in lengthy negotiations to traverse this tangled web. Various approaches to alleviate the distress of victims and survivors have been rejected, but despite the overall economic challenges, there is the still the prospect of endless inquiries, stretching years ahead at a cost of millions.

There are enduring open wounds on all sides, but is preventing them healing the most appropriate way ahead? Wouldn't it be better to close all the files, leave their analysis to history and give the money saved to victims and survivors now to provide them with the specialised assistance many badly need?

  • Chris Ryder is author of The RUC 1922-2000: A Force Under Fire (Arrow)

Belfast Telegraph

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