Brave testimony at Ballymurphy inquest
Sir, – The paratrooper who recently gave evidence at the Ballymurphy inquest is indeed a brave man in contrast to some of his comrades in the parachute regiment of the British army (Home News, May 14th).
He stated in evidence that officers on the ground lost control of rogue elements within the deployment. The last investigated instance of this happening was the Bloody Sunday killings in Derry. What happened then? The commanding officer received a commendation and it took over 30 years and two inquiries for the rogues to be found responsible.
Some British politicians particularly with military backgrounds still insist that “our boys” in the best army in the world “should remain immune from prosecution.
I think that most balanced people would realise that most soldiers operating in Northern Ireland during the Troubles behaved reasonably, despite the often misguided directions of their political mentors (internment and the stupid banning of civil rights marches) which unfortunately only encouraged recruitment to the IRA.
It behoves the senior ranks of the British army and politicians to admit that they were far from perfect and in doing so they would enhance the spirit of reconciliation.
The current attitude only serves to remind us of more distant colonial days when state killings took place all over the empire without any accountability.
It is notable that the vast majority of the relatives of those killed in the Ballymurphy incident desire no punishment for those involved, however, they do demand an admission of guilt as happened in the inquiries in South Africa. – Yours, etc,