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Representing Victims of Terrorism in South Armagh
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17.01.07
Just Never Proven Guilty

The HET have today angered and hurt victims with their partisan and unprofessional comments. They have joined the chorus of hand-wringing apologists who row up to sing the praises of the Reavy family. It has happened so often many now begin to think like the words from Shakespeare’s Hamlet that “The lady doth protest too much, methinks." We have had Nationalist and Republican politicians, sections of the media, the Chief Constable and now the Historical Enquiries Team rushing to protest the innocence of these men. However each forget the fact that their words are meaningless and hollow for they can never assure innocence all they can do is point to a lack of legal convictions. After all we are all innocent until proven guilty and as the men in question are no longer able to be brought before a court the whole issue is a moot point.

Perhaps a Royal exoneration would help it seems to be the preferred route of the current government as in the past number of years 16 Republican terrorists have received the Royal Pardon. They like the Reavey brothers no longer have to worry about earthly justice. For the people of South Armagh who knew these men we continue to beg to differ and rest assured that the hollow words of the HET like so many others mean nothing. After all innocence until proven guilty has been afforded to hundreds of killers who continue to roam our streets thanks to the failure of the police and to date the HET to bring them to justice. Until they are found guilty the whole concept of innocence is devalued since so many killers continue to enjoy that status.

The HET should put what little ability they have into doing their jobs and doing them better instead of grandstanding on such issues. Their comments on the security forces dealing with the Reavey family are misguided and demonstrate their real ignorance. Indeed it has simply afforded bitter Republicans with yet more opportunity to attack the security forces. If as some allege local security forces were involved in the murders it poses serious questions such as why did they take the risk of attacking a supposedly innocent family, why not any other and indeed much easier target? Why would those who had access to security force intelligence choose a family of innocent men in the heart of South Armagh when they had the choice of actual Republican terrorist targets, their details and files?

The more suspicious would assume that the Reavey family featured in such security force files and were obvious targets for such alleged rogue members, but then we have the assurance of the police that that was not the case! So if anything the comments of the police undermine the allegations of collusion, unless perhaps, just perhaps the police and HET are trying to cover this up for somebody? Upon reflection the words of assurance from the police should cause the Reavey family more cause for concern, more reason to suspect collusion; or perhaps they like other Republicans have come to trust the police?

Finally victims now expect that the Kingsmills Massacre which is linked by perpetrator to 70 other murders will be the next item on the HET agenda and that they will be as through. It would have been more prudent for them to have considered the evidence we wish to present before fully exonerating the Reavey Brothers however I’m sure if they feel the need they can always admit they were wrong! They like every other agency have shown a partisan approach to victims here, we will be getting questions asked in Parliament about the growing disparity between the two communities in respect of justice human rights and inquiries. As victims of terrorism who have suffered for over thirty years without justice in so many cases we find it insulting to see the government wasting time and money on the cases of those who were involved in terrorism. The fact that the families and supporters of these men seek to capitalise on their deaths, using that as another means of attacking the state is an insult to real victims, is disgusting The failure by the state to curb terrorism, then their failure to bring those involved to justice which was compounded by the willingness to establish inquiry after inquiry into alleged collusion. All we as victims call for, is balance, with the same effort and resources being committed to our cases

 



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