Belfast Telegraph

This was not him 'acting the lig', it was calculated to insult victims

Beatrice Worton and her son Colin holding a photograph of murdered Kenneth and a copy of the letter received from the Public Prosecution Service
Beatrice Worton and her son Colin holding a photograph of murdered Kenneth and a copy of the letter received from the Public Prosecution Service

By Kenny Donaldson

The PPS decision not to prosecute Barry McElduff for his mocking of the Kingsmill massacre in January of this year is a further illustration of how out of touch our criminal justice system has become for the innocent victims and survivors of terrorism.

No reasonable person could or should determine that Mr McElduff's actions were anything other than premeditated, with the objective being to mock those connected to a group of innocents (who in this case were Protestants) murdered by Provisional IRA terrorists because of sectarian and ethnic hatred.

It surely is in the public interest to prosecute someone who stands accused of such an offence, particularly when that individual occupied the position of Member of Parliament, carrying the responsibilities of leadership associated.

Let's be clear: this whole debacle was of huge public interest, and latterly Barry McElduff had to step down, not because of contrition or remorse for what he had done, but rather because of damaging a particular PR side of the republican movement.

Neutral observers looking on have determined that Barry McElduff used his "acting the lig" persona to camouflage the true purpose of his actions surrounding Kingsmill.

Over the weekend a gang of men adorned in KKK regalia, complete with a cross, went out in Newtownards and made their way to the Islamic Centre in the town, with eyewitnesses stating that individuals performed Nazi salutes.

Their camouflage was Halloween, which will no doubt form the basis of their defence in the event that they are prosecuted.

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All reasonable people would contend that there was premeditation in both acts and that both fall within the parameters of hate crime legislation and terms of offence.

Innocent victims and survivors of terrorism are goaded and traumatised on an almost daily basis by the words and actions of those who seek to diminish their criminal actions and/or wish to continue their campaign of terrorisation and division.

A small number of instances of this at a glance:

1. The wholly inappropriate public event remembering the Shankill bomber Thomas Begley.

2. Band parades commemorating loyalist terrorists.

3. GAA grounds named after republican terrorists.

4. The continued defence and support of the Provisional IRA and its criminal actions by Sinn Fein, a supposed democratic political party.

5. Public tributes to those guilty of serious terrorist offences, ie the Miami Showband killers.

6. Offensive and goading commentary given by so-called pundits and commentators within the media sphere.

The Barry McElduff Kingsmill saga has yet again brought limited justice or accountability. This has been the experience of innocent victims and survivors of terrorism for over two decades since the beginning of the terrorism appeasement process.

Does wider society fully comprehend the impact such injustice has upon those who have already lost so much within this society?

Try to place yourself in the position of a mother or father, wife, brother or sister or child and you've just heard the news that your loved one, when travelling home from a day's work, were taken out of their van, lined up and then assassinated. Try to understand the life that you might live after such devastation.

And then try to imagine how you might feel when a supposed Member of Parliament and leader within the community mocks the heartache, pain and ongoing suffering that you are experiencing.

Society needs to find its soul; there needs to be justice and accountability for the innocent and a resounding message sent out that hatred will not be tolerated whether it be motivated by religious, ethnic or other influences.

Many innocent victims and survivors of terrorism question the degree to which our criminal justice system is separated from and independent of political influence.

That's a reality which those in positions of influence and responsibility surely must consider and seek to rectify.

Kenny Donaldson is director of services at Innocent Victims United

Belfast Telegraph


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