Representing Victims of Terrorism in South Armagh
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Victims are alarmed that the growing array of voices calling for an end to historic enquiries is part of an orchestrated plan to deny us justice. Just as real victims move tantalizingly close to seeing justice for the first time it is clear that there are many who are set to try and deny it.

The comments by the Chief Constable using the excuse of police moral have been added to those of the Secretary of State and clearly signal the government’s intent to once more try to sacrifice truth and justice for political expediency. The comments about damage to police moral are both inaccurate and hypocritical. Let us not forget that it was Mr. Orde who gained promotion, experience and preferment reaching his current high office because of just such work. We all know how police officers who investigate other officers are detested; many indeed refuse to become involved in this work preferring to go after real criminals. Hugh Orde however made a career out of it, working with the Stevens Enquiry. This politically motivated exercise to placate nationalists was always going to make some finding about collusion. The surprising this was it took them three attempts to do it and in the end failed to satisfy either the NIO paymasters or the Sinn Fein/IRA propagandists. Never the less Stevens was rewarded with a peerage, however his poor investigative ability was once more exposed as he could not even convincingly prove allegations of corruption in English football. It is feared that Lord Stevens might also fail his next challenge to prove that the Pope is indeed Catholic!

Therefore for Hugh Orde to criticise collusion inquiries is very much a case of biting the hand that has fed him and his career for so long. He also fails to explain the biggest dent to police moral here – the politicized Patton Reforms that destroyed the RUC and set us on course to see now terrorists involved in policing. What greater damage could be done to a police force than to include criminals in its organisation and indeed set them in positions of control? To use his Lawrence Inquiry it would be similar to the killers of this young man claiming it was a political crime on behalf of a white supremist group, then to ease tensions this group maybe Combat 18 being asked to become involved in the control of policing in the Greater London area. Imagine the impact on police moral if they worked to catch the Lawrence killers only to see them released from prison and elevated to the highest office in the land.

We as victims are aware that Sinn Fein/IRA demanded a high and until now unknown price for their limited and tactical support for policing. Our sources inform us that the price is that there will be a de facto amnesty facilitated by the government undermining the Historic Enquiries Role.

Already we as victims have seen progress for the first time in cases and often for the first time police liaison with families, and now hopes and expectations have been raised we hope the government has not traded these families right to truth and justice for republican involvement in policing. We have been here before with the Government trying to legislate for an amnesty to buy in Republicans now they appear to have learnt from that embarrassing defeat and are trying to secretly introduce the same.

Victims have waited over thirty years for justice and truth and we have constantly been frustrated as the government procrastinates with one process after another. Time and time again we have stated our opinion on the best way forward based on the existing criminal justice system. Indeed our views have been attacked as being unrealistic since republicans did not acknowledge and refused to play a role in the criminal justice system. Now we are all to believe that that has changed. If Sinn Fein/IRA is genuine in their commitments to policing and criminal justice they should be prepared to submit themselves and their organisations to it. There should be engagement co-operation and results there can be no half way houses or safe houses for those who have killed and maimed. This is the real test for Republicans this is the real test for the government and this is the real test for the peace process.

The government has already set the bench mark for dealing with the past with the Saville Inquiry the Stevens Enquiries, the Finucane Inquiry and the Nelson and we believe that the lives of our loved ones are worth every bit as much as those people, and that the need for our families to get truth and justice is as important as their families. The worst mistake the government could make now is to create a further divide. If one community can see justice and truth then ours must too we will no longer be treated as second class victims. The most worrying aspect is the suspicion that the DUP are complicit in the present attempt to deny victims justice. Their secret dealings with Sinn Fein/IRA and the their new spirit of co-operation with them worries many people and as we see the lengths they have gone to go into government with them we fear just what they will do or allow to be done to stay in power. Have they been party to the plans to deny victims justice and do they support this immoral act.


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