We should be glad also to have an ombudsman of the calibre of Nuala O’Loan who is doing so much to restore confidence in the system of justice in Northern Ireland.
There were many fine men and women in the RUC who were killed or disabled during 30 years of what English generals and PIRA referred to as ‘war’.
Dirty things happen in a war and many families are aggrieved by the suffering of their kith and kin.
Nevertheless, in order to retain some kind of sanity in society, combatants serving in their own territory should be amenable to the law of that territory, and if they have been involved in heinous acts of violence they should be arraigned before that law.
The case of Raymond McCord Jnr and others would seem to have been exacerbated by the destruction of evidence of wrongdoing so that the desirable outcome of having actions and activities exposed and tried in a court of law would be futile. Could it be this has been so because persons of high rank — and not all of them in the police — were implicated? Where there is prime facie evidence, let there be a fair trial.
Where evidence does not exist because it has been destroyed, but affidavits which imply guilt may be produced, let there be a public inquiry on foot of material coming to light as a result of work done by persons of the calibre, stature and office of Mrs O’Loan.
The McCord family is not alone in suffering from the failure of the state to discover what happened, and why, to their family members
Let us, for example, now trust that Pat Finucane’s family will get an independent public inquiry into his murder. For how many more years must they wait before the truth is revealed to them.
Not so long ago the New Ireland Group held a conference in Belfast entitled, ‘Who polices the police?’ Any scepticism felt by those attending will have been confounded now.
Along with others, Sinn Féin is absolutely right to insist on accountability at every level of policing. At least some of the latest revelations refer to killings which have taken place since loyalist as well as republican paramilitary organisations declared their respective commitments to ceasefire.
Under Sir Hugh Orde we may be thankful that policing is changing for the better. We can only hope that Sinn Féin members will vote to support accountable policing and law and order at the forthcoming árdfheis and that, thereafter, they will use their considerable dialectical expertise to ensure there will be accountability at every level of law enforcement.
New Ireland Group
59 Hopefield Ave