Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: For many, justice will never come

There will be many people today who agree with Secretary of State Owen Paterson that there should be no more open-ended and costly public inquiries into past deaths in Northern Ireland.

Certainly they will feel they did not get value for the £30m and five years spent investigating the killing of loyalist terrorist Billy Wright in the Maze prison. In essence, the inquiry found there was no collusion between state agencies and the republican killers of Wright and that failings in the way the jail was run made the killing possible.

Predictably, the report’s main finding has been rejected by Wright’s father and the question that most people will ask is — what was the point of this protracted and expensive inquiry?

They will also feel that there were other deaths among the 3,000 that have never been solved which were more deserving of a public investigation.

Why, for example, was there no proper inquiry, other than by the Police Ombudsman, into the deaths of nine innocent people in Claudy when church, state and the police all colluded to let a prime suspect leave the jurisdiction?

It is now evident that minds must turn to some new way of finding the truth about past killings in Northern Ireland.

There may be merit in re-examining the proposals from the Eames-Bradley report on establishing a truth commission, although, as the Wright inquiry demonstrated, finding all the documentation and evidence is by no means a straightforward exercise.

Even if some truth tribunal was set up, it is not clear that those still alive who know the truth about our legacy of death and destruction would be willing to give the unvarnished truth.

What is perfectly clear is that the bereaved and injured will never receive justice.

However painful it may be to many, many people, it is becoming more and more likely that we will simply have to draw a line under the past.

Belfast Telegraph

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