Northern Ireland - Ten Years On
Northern Ireland -Ten Years on.
Ten years since Sir Max Hastings wrote the piece below in the Daily Mail. Powerful accurate and incisive it encapsulates all the hard work of the British Soldiers in Northern Ireland and the problems they faced. Many lessons had to be learned on the ground about dealing with terrorism. Many were killed by the criminals mostly civilians followed by Police Officers and soldiers. A relatively small number of the murderers were killed by the security forces.
Because ‘The Troubles’ took place in the United Kingdom they were given almost unlimited coverage by the media who attempted to take an even-handed approach to reporting. Unfortunately, even-handed reporting played directly into the hands of the terrorists. They were given an international stage where they were allowed to promote their own version of the truth no matter how inaccurate it was. Their public relations relied on the belief that if a lie is repeated often enough, eventually it will become the truth. Those lies raised huge sums of money in the USA which paid for munitions and propaganda.
Read the article and ask yourself what has changed since the end of Op Banner? The population of Northern Ireland is still divided and bigoted. Hatred is still taught to children from birth and more importantly after ten years history has been rewritten.
Those who placed bombs in the streets and killed are publicly referred to as Republican Volunteers. Killers who led terrorist cells were released from prison, became politicians, and were presented with seats in government. Hitler was democratically elected. Just because something is legal does not make it right.
Some will claim that Ulster today is a better place for the peace agreement. They will say that there are fewer murders and no soldiers on the streets. There is a lot of truth in that however, parts of Belfast, Londonderry and most towns in South Armagh are dominated by gangsters. It is impossible for anyone to move freely or open a business in these places without fear of intimidation and coercion. Ulster is not free – Ulster in many areas is ruled by the criminals who control the vice, the drugs, the streets and large parts of Stormont. This is the peace of Al Capone - it will not last and it cannot last because the law of Ulster is the law of the criminals.
After the Good Friday Agreement, it was hoped that a line would be drawn under the past. Convicted criminals would be released on license while soldiers and police officers who risked their lives would be able to go home to their families in safety. Sadly, another lost hope because Sinn Fein/IRA decided to pursue British Soldiers who were previously exonerated for their actions by developing a police unit known as the Historical Investigations Team.
Since 2007 millions of pounds of British Taxpayers, money has been spent chasing spurious accusations against those who were the guardians of our safety. Attempts have been and are being made to convict dying and in one case a dead veteran to promote the Irish Republican cause – and where are the journalists? Where are the embedded media heroes who want to get to the truth? Where is Sir Max Hastings these days? The press are no longer interested in Northern Ireland and they certainly are not interested in the injustices that are being perpetrated against Northern Ireland Veterans.
On Good Friday 2017 more than five thousand former veterans marched in protest to Downing St. Did the BBC or ITV make any live reports; did any editors get up on their soapboxes and start a campaign? No, as far as they were concerned it wasn’t current - It wasn’t news. Like false prophets, they would rather speculate and sensationalise about the future instead of dealing with the injustices of today.
Peace is not the absence of war it is the absence of injustice. While new injustices are heaped on the old, there can never be true peace in Northern Ireland. The honest, decent and hard-working people of Ulster will never truly look forward to a safe future until the past is put aside, the dead are left to rest and children can play and grow without hatred.
Dennis Hutchings is innocent!
© Robin Horsfall 2017