Martin Galvin, New York Attorney-At-Law and contributor to the 1916 Societies One Ireland One Vote Campaign, responds to the British Government’s refusal to fully acknowledge their role in the conflict, in the letters column of the Irish News.
Who should be counted victims of British state killings? Criminal responsibility for unlawful killings does not stop at the one who pulled the trigger. Must we stop at British claims their state was only responsible for 10 per cent of Troubles’ killings?
Patrick Murphy’s insights on James Brokenshire’s blinkered view of British crown killings (February 4) makes such questions inevitable. We may indeed never know the whole truth. However, decades of campaigns, legal fights, inquests, investigations by newspaper and television journalists, have unearthed hard-won truths about British collusion that were buried when British state victims were first counted at 10 per cent.
Surely it is time to count all British state victims, including those murdered jointly with loyalists before questioning how many crown force members would face prosecutions.
The list begins with those hundreds of killings by British state forces admitted by crown officials. They may deny that shooting down unarmed victims at Ballymurphy and Bloody Sunday, or children with plastic bullets were crimes, but even Brokenshire admits British state responsibility for this 10 per cent.
The Military Reaction Force (MRF), as Patrick Murphy described, used British troopers wearing “civilian clothes to kill IRA members and civilians in no-warning shootings, mainly to inflame sectarian conflict”. They are suspected of organising the McGurk’s Bar bombing. Why not add victims of undercover British troopers to state victims?
The British Army’s Field Reconnaissance Unit (FRU) and other crown forces, hired agents who carried out their murders.
How can the state avoid responsibility for murders by its hirelings?
How many hundreds of loyalist murders were carried out by British agents and informers? Include victims the Stakeknife probe will add to Britain’s 10 per cent.
These murders were carried out with weapons the British wholesaled to loyalists through Brian Nelson, sieved through UDR barracks, and even made special deliveries through agents like William Stobie to kill Pat Finucane. The Dublin-Monaghan bombs took crown expertise. Add Glenanne Gang or East Tyrone murders by off-duty UDR. Add intelligence, targeting, supervision, plus restrictive notices removing patrols that might block planned murder routes.
British law counts those who pay for, direct, plan, provide weapons, identify targets, conspire, cover-up or otherwise collude in murders as jointly criminally responsible for murder. How many of more than 1,000 loyalist murder victims should, legally, be counted jointly as British state collusion victims?
It is time to rewrite the British fairy tale narrative of the past, where state killings amounted to only 10 per cent. Give hard-won truth to their victims’ families.