Orange Institution rejects amnesty proposals
The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has reaffirmed its opposition to the recent UK Government announcement of what is effectively an amnesty relating to all killings in Northern Ireland.
It is our view that this does nothing but bring further pain and frustration to families who have suffered so much over many years.
This latest development offers protection for the perpetrators but extinguishes any hope of truth and justice for those innocents who have been wronged.
The Orange Institution fully endorses bringing an end to the vexatious pursuit of elderly military personnel who have been exposed to a cycle of reinvestigations in the absence of any new or substantial evidence. Furthermore, policy makers need to ensure that military personnel who lived and served at home in Northern Ireland along with their colleagues in the Royal Ulster Constabulary are also protected from excessive, politically motivated investigations.
In the simplest of terms – if an individual committed a crime, regardless of their motivation or background, they must be held accountable to the law. The government’s proposals effectively bring an end to that.
We have been clear that there can be no equivocation or sweeping parallel drawn between those terrorists who lifted a weapon or primed a bomb with premediated murder and destruction in mind – and those whose primary motivation was to maintain the peace and to serve and protect our entire community. Every terrorist action was illegal and cannot be viewed as anything else and this legislation which is designed to draw a line under the past will only further help to sanitize the actions of evil men.
We should never lose sight of the statistical fact that terrorists were responsible for 90% of all deaths, and the Security Forces for 10% - many of which were terrorists, killed whilst engaging in their murderous activities.
The so called ‘peace process’ in Northern Ireland has already rode roughshod over the notion of justice for the innocent victims’ community, including the early release of convicted terrorists and secret on the run letters. These have already effectively delivered an amnesty and a new life for some of the perpetrators of the most heinous crimes in our history.
And yet in many Ulster homes, widows and children of the victims of terrorists will receive no such parole to their life sentence of suffering, anguish and loss.
The vast majority of murders relating to 339 members of the Orange Institution remain unsolved – yet the faintest hope that one day justice might yet prevail sustains a strength and determination amongst the families left behind. These innocent victims, regardless of how slim the likelihood is of a successful outcome must be allowed to retain the expectation that justice will prevail.
The Orange Institution remains committed to ensuring that the history of the needless and unjustified campaign of domestic terror waged on our Country is not re-written by those who wrought so much pain and destruction on our community.