Any Irish Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission must be outsourced or the victims will become the villains of the Peace


When it comes to public enquiries the British government seems to lose all interest in privatization and outsourcing. It is quite happy, if not over-keen, when selling off the crown jewels of State infrastructure, such as water and railways, and doesn’t lose a night’s sleep about out-sourcing the running of prisons to US multi-national corporations. As to the NHS, it likes nothing better than mortgaging the tax revenues of future generations up to the hilt under the PPFI, as long as its friends in big business can turn a lucrative profit.

But when it comes to inquiring into the conduct of the British State in the north of Ireland, all talk of out-sourcing a Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission [TJ&RC] is scoffed at as unfeasible if not ridiculous, when in fact the opposite is true. For to do otherwise will negate the whole purpose of a TJ&RC, as it would allow those accused of misdeeds, i.e. the British State, to conduct an enquiry into itself. Which is something even London’s Metropolitan police no longer insist upon. If the shoe were on the other foot, few people would believe it feasible for the PIRA to name those who were to sit on an inquiry which was to look into how people came to suffer at its hands?

At this moment in the north of Ireland, two UK government appointees, Lord Eames and Denis Bradley, are deciding on just how the years of the north of Irelands ‘long war’ can best be looked into, although in today’s world, where white becomes black, the wags on the street prefer to use the term ‘covered up’.

If ever there was a case for outsourcing a government sponsored enquiry this is it, as it has become increasingly clear that if a Commission is to look with unprejudiced eyes at how the UK State criminally colluded with Irish para-militaries, it cannot be made up of political appointees such as the two aforementioned gentlemen, both of whom can be described as being members of either the British or Irish establishments.

Indeed Robert Eames is a member of the English House of Lords and as such he will have sworn an oath of allegiance to the English queen and the State she rules over. By stating these facts I am not casting aspirations about either man’s character, simply stating that due to their close association with the British and Irish establishment they will not inspire confidence in Ireland amongst those who suffered most due to UK State collusion.

Any TJ&RC will be a difficult enough project and if it is to have the full support of the people of Ireland then it must be seen to be open, fair and impartial. One of the problems is that by accepting the GFA in it entirety, SF have accepted that the UK State is an equal partner, with, dare I say it, no selfish, economic or strategic interest in the North of Ireland. Thus the British government quite understandably demands the right to appoint the members of a TJ&RC, which for most nationalists and republicans would be like allowing a criminal accused of foul deeds to appoint both the judge and jury who are about to try them.

This cannot be allowed to happen and not only because those who have suffered and lost love ones due to the criminal collusion that took place between UK State agencies and criminal elements are crying out for justice, but also because the very fabric of British and Irish democracy depends upon it. Those who have pledged to uphold the law on our behalf, cannot break it with impunity then expect us to trust them with setting up a TJ@RC.

One of the main reason why criminal collusion was allowed to take hold in the north of Ireland was because the British State refused to admit they were engaged in a war against the PIRA. They created the myth that throughout the long war they were simply fighting against a band of criminals lead by mafia type godfathers, whilst in reality below the surface they themselves were acting in the most appalling and criminal manner. We should not be surprised about this as that has been how historically the British State has fought all the colonial insurgencies it has faced.

But this was not an insurgency within some far-flung colonial outpost, but within the the United Kingdom itself and by fighting this war in an illegal manner, the British government set a precedent which seeped into the criminal justice system and the UK’s law enforcement agencies. For example, the highly political, strong-armed and often illegal methods used by the English police against striking miners in 1984, would in all probability never have occurred if the British State had not struck a precedent in the north of Ireland when combatting the Republican Movement.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that with the Good Friday Agreement the British State has managed to revert to the status quo in the north of Ireland, albeit a status quo that has managed to entice and incorporate elements of the Irish Republican Movement.

Nevertheless it is the status quo all the same and I am certain with this will come a rewriting of recent Irish history, i.e, British State benign, British army guarantors of freedom and democracy, etc, etc, and all those who opposed them bad. Which would be a travesty of the truth about what actually occurred in the north of Ireland; and not only during the years of the long war but since the northern state-let’s inception.

It is thus imperative that there is an International TJ&RC, for if not the perpetrators having become the victors, will be writing the history of this war and the victims will be assigned the role of the villains of the peace.*

First published on The Blanket. 06.02.08.

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9 Comments

Filed under Ireland/Politics/Republicanism/UK/north of Ireland/inde, Truth-justice-and-reconciliation-commission

9 responses to “Any Irish Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission must be outsourced or the victims will become the villains of the Peace

  1. Hope

    It must be terribly hard to accept that the troubles led to an agreement between the most extreme elements rather than further bloodshed. Whilst you can bang the drum about the evils of the British state, convienently (as usual) ignoring the Loyalist perspective and utterly ignoring any wrongdoing by Cathooilc Repulbicans held bent on a Protestant-free state, the reality is that both sides have decided to live together with different aspirations but funny enough common goals.

    There will be a United Ireland but it will be one that dances on the grave of militant republicanism and their English stooges who never bothered to understand the realities of why one million Ulster protestants would die rather than be marooned in DeValera’s hidebound state.

    In a world where Devalera’s grandson is giving money to the Orange Order and Paisley talks freely to the PM of Eire, the world has left your concerns behind. Move on, otherwise you as much the past as a fossilised tree.

  2. Mick Hall

    hope,
    You are obviously quiet happy for the British government to plot with murderers and assist them in their crimes and not give a toss when totally innocent people are killed in the cross fire. You may also even feel the out come of such crimes is progress, I do not.

    I do not give a fig about Dev, Paisley nor their wretched offspring and even less for your bigoted bile. What I do care about is that the government which collects and spends my taxes is brought to book if it colludes in criminality. For I am old fashioned enough to believe that when the government acts it does so in the name of the people it is there to serve. Which to my way of thinking places a responsibility on us all when it acts in a criminal manner.

    If you made an attempt to look beyond your own prejudices you would see that this issue is not about the reunification of Ireland, as welcome as that would be, but about democratic accountability in the UK as a whole.

    I wish you well.

  3. Darcally

    I am more in favour of an independent public inquiry rather than a TJ&RC, in which the miscreants escape scott free.
    PM Blair suggested the latter when he was under pressure for an independent pubic inquiry. The fact that he, as the loyal servant of the Brit state, prefers this option should tell us a lot.

  4. Anonymous

    Then fine I want it to go further to see why people who have killed and murdered are now free, why the IRA leaders are now in Parliament, lets have a good old clean out.

  5. Mick Hall

    darcally/Anon

    I feel we are going to have to accept that some people will not be punished for the crimes they committed if we are to get at the truth and try and ensure this type of thing is not repeated, but I agree with Anon that the truth about IRA activities should be brought into the public light, this is why I use the term Irish paramilitaries whereas other simply wish to put the loyalist paramilitary organizations in the dock.[so to speak]

    We now know that the security services for reasons of self interest, allowed republicans to commit crimes up to and including murder, Freddie Scapaticci is the prime example of this but there have been undoubtedly others.

    Personally I would also like to know how long Adams and co were negotiating with the British government prior to the peace process becoming public knowledge, for many people now believe that certain leading republicans sent volunteers out to kill and be killed when they not only new the war was lost, but were negotiating with the British about such things as a personal amnesty for Republican leaders such as themselves.

  6. Mick Hall

    darcally/Anon

    I feel we are going to have to accept that some people will not be punished for the crimes they committed if we are to get at the truth and try and ensure this type of thing is not repeated, but I agree with Anon that the truth about IRA activities should be brought into the public light, this is why I use the term Irish paramilitaries whereas other simply wish to put the loyalist paramilitary organizations in the dock.[so to speak]

    We now know that the security services for reasons of self interest, allowed republicans to commit crimes up to and including murder, Freddie Scapaticci is the prime example of this but there have been undoubtedly others.

    Personally I would also like to know how long Adams and co were negotiating with the British government prior to the peace process becoming public knowledge, for many people now believe that certain leading republicans sent volunteers out to kill and be killed when they not only new the war was lost, but were negotiating with the British about such things as a personal amnesty for Republican leaders such as themselves.

  7. Hope

    Love to know why anyone disagreeing with you is writing ‘bigoted bile’? Where was that in my post? Think you’ve outed yourself there. Mention of one million recalcitrant protestants who refused to accept their historic destiny and disappear must rankle deeply. Funny that. The blindness of Repulicanism to its fellow islanders led to 200 years of bloodshed and misunderstanding. Now its over you want to start it again? Or what really do you want, a rematch. I assume of course you’ve not lived in Ulster but just commentated from the safety of your pc.

  8. Mick Hall

    hope

    I find your attempt to tout around for sympathy whilst playing the victim card contemptible and as an attempt to rewrite history which is something I warned of in my piece.

    You sound like the fool who came up with the end of history rubbish, nothing is over as you claim, for the island of Ireland is still partitioned politically, so all is still to play for.

    Thankfully the war has ended and hopefully this matter will now be resolved by politics alone, so now that you have splashed and spluttered all over the place, perhaps you might return to the blog I wrote and deal with the issues I raised, for all you have done so far is confirm my hypotheses that if the British government are allowed to set up and appoint the members of a TJ@RC the victims will end up the villains.*

    Myself I believe there has been guilt and misunderstanding from all the main participants; and that includes Republicans and if there is to be a new start the dirty linen needs to be washed clean in full view of the people of Ireland and the UK.

    To claim as you do that ‘all’ Republicans were blind to the Protestant community in the north is not only untrue but plain wrong, for the just prior to Easter 1916, Connolly insisted that not a shot must be fired in the north, for he had no wish to inflame the Protestant peoples sensibilities.**

    * “The blindness of Republicanism to its fellow islanders led to 200 years of bloodshed and misunderstanding.”

    **

    That you cannot see that the sentence below and similar words you wrote in your first post are deeply offensive to me is why I accused you of writing bile. What you are implying here is that I would have welcomed the ethnic cleansing of the Protestant people who live in the north of Ireland.

    “Mention of one million recalcitrant Protestants who refused to accept their historic destiny and disappear must rankle deeply.”

  9. Simon

    What next, a sainthood for Adams? Perhaps Sinn Fein would like to tell us were all the bodies are buried in the bogs?

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