Interesting to again see the old hierarchy of suffering coming into play again in the Northern Ireland context. The only violence that matters it would seem is the Republican variety.
Contrast the present furore with the lack of interest when the devastating book “Lethal Allies” documenting 120 deaths (mainly Catholic) occurring between 1972 and 1978 was published in the autumn. Or the ongoing struggle of the Finucane family to get an independent judicial inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane in 1989.One of the architects of Lethal Allies, Alan Brecknell, declared that he had no desire to see the 80 plus year olds responsible for the death of his father appearing in court, however he did want what happened recognised and acknowledged.
The response of the British government then was to not even meet with the book’s author Anne Cadwallader and those from the Pat Finucane Centre responsible for gathering the evidence. Compare such a response to the cartwheels now being performed by Theresa Villers and the British government in order to try to keep Peter Robinson and his chums in the Democratic Unionist Party on board with the peace process.
What the present furore over the letters of exemption and other revelations like Lethal Allies and those of the Panorama programme exposing British soldiers killing civilians demand is the creation of a truth and reconciliation commission. Though lest any party should have any misunderstandings, such a body would be internationally constituted and look at killings on all sides, not simply those that serve the purposes of the British state or either of the communities in Northern Ireland.