Lord Hain: Where will this process of endless prosecutorial investigation into the North of Ireland lead?

The £150m earmarked for dealing with the legacy of the Troubles would be better spent funding the needs of those bereaved and survivors, rather than pursuing convictions, says Lord Hain

Bloody Sunday
Bloody Sunday relatives of those murdered on Bloody Sunday, after the announcement from the (PPS) Public Prosecution Service is to be charged with murder. Credit PA

The image of a Catholic priest waving a bloodstained white handkerchief while trying to help a victim shot by British soldiers on Bloody Sunday in Derry remains a haunting memory from the terrible 30 years of Northern Ireland’s Troubles.

Murder is Murder the British Prime Minister of the Tory Party Margaret Thatcher ever spoke and that’s a fact

Thirteen people were shot dead during a civil rights march that day, 30 January 1972, and the Northern Ireland Public Prosecution Service (PPS) is prosecuting Soldier F, a former British soldier, over two such deaths.

However the PPS also said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute 16 other soldiers and two Official IRA men.

The British Crown Forces fuelled the war in the occupied Six Counties of Ireland. England get out of Ireland!

Clearly police and prosecutors must follow the evidence and prosecute if it is robust. But the case beckons a much more fundamental question raised last year with the government by eight peers, myself included, each with government or other senior service in Northern Ireland.

Namely: where is this process of endless prosecutorial investigation into Northern Ireland’s past leading?

General Frank Kitson

Of course many victims and others attach great importance to legally pursuing those responsible for the appalling loss they have suffered – and their views clearly deserve the utmost respect.

But the Historical Enquiries Team of 2006-14 completed work on 1,615 cases involving more than 2,000 deaths. Only 17 were referred to the PPS and only three resulted in prosecutions and convictions for murder: 3 out of 1,615 or 0.2%.

The new Historical Investigations Unit will examine 1,700 deaths over five years. Why should it be more successful after the extra passage of time – stretching back up to 50 years including the death from natural causes of people who were in one way or another involved? Is the £150m the government has now promised really the best possible use of that money?

Surely there are much more effective ways of helping victims and discovering information to explain the loss of loved ones? Indeed, Bloody Sunday victims welcomed the apology by David Cameron in 2010 – the most fulsome and profuse apology ever given by a British prime minister – after the exhaustive Saville report had trenchantly criticised the state and the security forces

As the Bloody Sunday investigation shows, prosecutions are being considered for former (often long-retired) members of the armed forces – perhaps because records and information are more readily available, unlike for former paramilitaries.

That cannot be right. It is essential to treat past cases in an absolutely even-handed manner. But that also means former military personnel cannot be exempt (as some, including it seems defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, are suggesting) while other former combatants, either loyalist or republican, are pursued.

Where will all this end?

Remember the politically destabilising farce of one of the key architects of the peace process, former Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams, being arrested in May 2014, detained for several days with media speculation on an intense scale, and then predictably released.

The two victims of the Parachute Regiment who Soldier F is charged with murdering but all the British Para’s we’re guilty of murder in the First Degree

Currently, we are witnessing a massive diversion of resources into investigating old crimes with no prospect of a successful outcome, with many elderly citizens – currently retired soldiers and police officers – being distressed by protracted inquiries.

The priority is surely now to use the £150m the government is offering to resource victims, not prosecutions that have little or no likelihood of delivering satisfactory closure. A good start would be to fund the pension for the nearly 500 severely injured demanded by the Wave Trauma Centre, and backed across all the benches in the Lords, costing just £5m.

Lord Hain is a Labour peer and former secretary of state for Northern Ireland

With many thanks to: House Magazine and Lord Hain for the original posting

 

Corbyn says British soldiers SHOULD face prosecution for the Troubles | Daily Mail Online

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6819199/Jeremy-Corbyn-says-British-soldiers-face-prosecution-Bloody-Sunday.html

‘Every parent’s worst nightmare’: Three teenagers die at Saint Patrick’s Day disco crush at Tryone disco

The incident took place at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown

THREE TEENAGERS HAVE died and three people are receiving treatment in hospital, after an incident at a hotel in Tyrone yesterday evening.

The PSNI has said it is still working to determine the cause of the incident, but it has said there are reports of a crush at the scene.

Embedded videoPSNI✔@PoliceServiceNIACC Mark Hamilton extends condolences to the families of the three teenagers who died at a St. Patrick’s Day event in Cookstown. A major investigation is now underway.667:52 AM – Mar 18, 201935 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

The incident took place at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown and emergency services were called to attend at around 9.30pm last night.

The hotel was playing host to a party with a number of young people in attendance, with the PSNI issuing an appeal for parents to contact their children and collect them immediately.

Assistant chief constable Mark Hamilton said last night: “I can confirm there are two fatalities at this stage and a small number of other casualties. Parents are asked to collect children from Family and Friends reception at Glenavon Hotel.

At this stage the cause of the incident is unknown however police have commenced a full investigation into the circumstances. While the exact cause of the incident is still unknown, there are reports of a crush at the scene.

However, another teenager died from their injuries this morning.

Police confirmed that a 17-year-old boy, a 17-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy have died.

In a further statement this morning, Hamilton said: “Our investigation is at an early stage, and while the exact cause of the incident is still unknown, there are reports of a crush at the scene and initial enquiries indicate that a large group of young people were waiting to enter a disco. We also have reports of some fighting after the incident commenced and at least one person has reported that they were assaulted.”

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, local SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone – who attended the scene last night – described the situation as “every parent’s worst nightmare”.

“Their kids have gone to a teenage disco, and some are not returning home,” he said. “All you can do is express your sympathies to the parents.”

He added that the reports he’s heard from police is that there was a “crush” after a “surge forward” but said that was subjective at this stage and police are investigating.

Local DUP MLA Keith Buchanan said in a statement his thoughts are with the families “receiving such devastating news” today.

“Cookstown is a tightly knit community and the loss of life will be felt right across the entire area,” he said.

The full details surrounding the incident are yet to emerge but it is absolutely devastating that a night out over a bank holiday weekend has ended in such tragic circumstances.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sean Murry

@SeanMJourno
sean@thejournal.ie

Mum who drowned daughter, 3, jailed for life

Claire Colebourn: Mother who drowned daughter, 3, in bath jailed for 18 years

Bethan was drowned in the bath in the early hours of the morning at her Hampshire home

A mother who drowned her three-year-old daughter in the bath has been jailed for a minimum of 18 years

Claire Colebourn, 36, killed her child Bethan at their home in Fordingbridge, Hampshire, before making multiple suicide attempts.

The former science teacher had hit “rock bottom” after her husband Michael ended their 16-year-relationship, her trial at Winchester Crown Court heard.

She woke Bethan in the early hours of 19 October 2017 and held her body under the water.

Colebourn was discovered by her mother in a diabetic coma 14 hours later after she tried to take her own life.

The ex-sixth former biology teacher had planned to drown her daughter and even set an alarm to “carry out the act”.

She also altered her will the day after the killing, the court heard.

With many thanks to: Sky News for the original story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mrs Justice Johannah Cutts told the 36-year-old: “She (Bethan) was clearly a beautiful little girl who was full of life.

“She had everything to live

Ex-British soldier’s about-turn on Derry march plan

Alan Barry of Justice for Veterans

A march by veterans through Derry to protest at the prosecution of ‘Soldier F’ has been scrapped.

It comes after the plan was met with outrage from Bloody Sunday victims’ families.

Republicans also vowed to oppose it, with dissident group Saoradh vowing it would “radically confront this potential grotesque gathering”.

Now the Justice for Northern Ireland Veterans group has backtracked on its plan, after initially vowing to mobilise ex-soldiers in Britain and ferry and coach them to the city for the rally.

The group’s Alan Barry confirmed it had been called off, claiming it was all just a ruse to “show how bitter” the city was about the events of Bloody Sunday.

He said: “Look at what happened yesterday and the foul propaganda of the dissidents showing their sick agenda.

“I am not so deluded that I think protesting in Londonderry or Derry would achieve anything other than play into their hands and give these lowlifes some form of moral victory.

“They are a scourge on society.

“The veterans’ beef is with Parliament and the MPs, as they alone can stop this madness.”

Asked why he had now done a complete U-turn on the planned march, Mr Barry claimed it was all a “ploy”.

“Have you ever heard the phrase squaddie humour? It was a ploy and a strategy to make the dissidents show the true bitterness that still exists, how they don’t want to let sleeping dogs lie. It was all a ploy to show how bitter Derry still is. I couldn’t care less what republicans think of it.”

The group is now planning to march in London instead.

With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph for the original story

‘Fake news’ sent out by government department

BRITISH government officials forged documents to produce “fake news stories” during the Cold War, newly released files show. The Information Research Department (IRD) was the Foreign Office’s secret propaganda unit. For 30 years it fed information to journalists and had its own news agencies too. Almost 2,000 of its files have been transferred to the National Archives since the start of 2019.

With many thanks to: BBC News England for the original story

The DUP’s price for supporting May’s Brexit deal: seat at trade talks – Sunday Telegraph

Nigel Dodds has proven to be just as controversial as Karen Bradley. As can be seen by the letter on the right. Where he is lobbying for no more Catholic homes to be built in North Belfast

LONDON (Reuters) – The Northern Irish party which props up Prime Minister Theresa May’s minority government is demanding a seat at post-Brexit trade talks as its price for supporting her twice-defeated divorce deal, The Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported.

The Democratic Unionist Party wants a guarantee that Northern Ireland will be treated no differently from the rest of the United Kingdom and a seat at trade talks, the newspaper said.

“We are determined that Brexit should happen in accordance with the referendum result but the only way it can happen which is acceptable to us is if the United Kingdom is treated as one,” DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds told The Sunday Telegraph.

“The government is now focused on this key issue but political statements or pledges are not enough.”

With many thanks to: Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Reuters for the original posting