Leading article

Theresa May peddling nonsense over legacy investigations

We know that legacy cases from our violent past are among the most difficult and sensitive matters yet to be resolved, with bereaved families waiting decades to be told the full circumstances of a loved one's death.

Many of the killings carried out during the Troubles were inadequately investigated while delays and obstruction on the part of the British government have prolonged the suffering of victims, some of whom have passed away before learning the truth.

In particular, there has been a reluctance to disclose information in relation to killings carried out by members of the security forces.

Just last month, a coroner ruled that a British soldier was not justified in shooting dead a pregnant teenager, Marian Brown, in 1972. Her family had waited 46 years to be told the truth.

There is no doubt that the focus on the actions of former soldiers has caused deep disquiet among some Tory MPs, who have been particularly vocal in calling for a statute of limitations.

They are entitled to raise issues in respect of their constituents but they are ignoring the wider implications of such a move, which could effectively mean an amnesty for paramilitaries.

The DUP, victims' representatives, Sinn Féin and the Dublin government have all voiced concerns at such a plan but that did not stop senior Tories putting pressure on Theresa May at Westminster yesterday.

However, in an exchange that will do little to inspire confidence among victims and the wider public in Northern Ireland, Mrs May claimed that the 'only people being investigated' are armed forces while 'terrorists are not being investigated.'

Such a sweeping generalisation bears no relation to the facts, which show that killings by the army account for around 30 per cent of the PSNI's legacy workload, with the majority relating to republicans and loyalists.

It is frankly unacceptable that the British prime minister is so out of touch on this important issue.

Bereaved families are entitled to the truth, not patent nonsense from the head of government.

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