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All the bereaved families of Northern Ireland still grieve. Some of it happened a very long time ago and some of it more recently. As the police ombudsman, I reported on many cases, but the most complex investigation was that into the activities of a group of UVF police informants in North Belfast. A man came into my office in 2002 and told me that his son, Raymond McCord, had been murdered by UVF informants who had been committing the most serious of crimes for over a decade, that many of these crimes were known to the police, and that those informants were not made amenable for the crimes which they committed. It seemed to me unlikely that this could have happened. Nevertheless, it was my statutory duty to investigate, and I did so. He was right. A group of UVF police informants were linked to at least 10 murders, 10 attempted murders and at least 76 other serious crimes committed between 1991 and 2002. I have to tell noble Lords that before 1994, they murdered Catholics, and after the ceasefire, they murdered Protestants. Some police officers had deliberately colluded with those informants and allowed them to go on committing crimes, deliberately obstructing the efforts of other officers to bring them to justice. These findings did not destroy, but enabled a stronger and better police service and a community in North Belfast that once again is working with the police. As a consequence of that investigation, 11 men now stand charged with the most serious crimes, including murder. The investigation continues.
The deaths and atrocities of the Troubles are not ancient history. I think of the recent attempted murder of PC Peadar Heffron and the murders of Sappers Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey. Dissident republican paramilitaries are still trying to murder people. Loyalists, too, are not at peace. Just last month, the Independent Monitoring Commission reported that the murder of loyalist Bobby Moffett on 28 May this year was sanctioned by the UVF. The commission, of which the noble Lord, Lord Alderdice, is a member, stated that the reasons why the UVF sanctioned the murder were to,
Much has been said about the cost of Saville, and this is used as an argument to close down the past. With the deepest respect to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Carswell, it is surely inappropriate to refer to those who seek investigations into the murders of their loved ones as "picking at scabs". It is said that the investigation of past atrocities costs too much and that it could undermine the peace. Indeed I was told
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I know that justice and policing have now been devolved. Notwithstanding that, the Government have a clear interest in the security situation in Northern Ireland, and recent warnings by MI5 in relation to dissident republican activities are chilling. We have to find a way to deal with the past; we cannot ignore it. Currently, four bodies investigate the past in Northern Ireland: the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, the office I held, investigates deaths which may have resulted from police misconduct. The Government also asked us to investigate a number of other cases in which the security forces killed people, and into which there had not been an investigation that was compliant with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In that context, for example, the alleged "shoot to kill" deaths investigated by John Stalker and later by Colin Sampson were referred to my office. I initiated the work, having read the lengthy investigation files created by Mr Stalker and Mr Sampson. The work is massive, but the United Kingdom does have legal and moral obligations.
So the Police Ombudsman investigates; the coroner investigates; the Historical Enquiries Team, established by the PSNI and part of the PSNI, reviews deaths occurring before the Good Friday agreement. The HET reports on inquiries in cases where there can be no investigation to lead to a prosecution; it does not investigate those cases. If it finds that there is scope for an investigation it passes the case on to the PSNI for investigation, which then starts again.
All this produces duplication of work and complex legal situations. For example, when I was investigating a case in which it was alleged that a police officer and a civilian were involved in a murder, the law required me to investigate the police officer and the PSNI to investigate the civilian. The consequence of this was that the police officer was my suspect and the civilian was my witness; and for the PSNI, the police officer was its witness and the civilian was its suspect. I do not need to explain to noble Lords the legal difficulties in disclosure and process consequential upon this situation.
In Northern Ireland four different organisations, at least, are responsible for investigations-I have not referred to the Health and Safety Executive, for example-but I am sure that the resulting complexities and inefficiencies were not intended when the various pieces of legislation were passed. Nevertheless, that law now exists. In addition, there continues to be concern in some quarters about the fact that the actual historic investigations are carried out not by HET, which has some independent personnel, but by the Police Service of Northern Ireland. I do not make any attack on the integrity of the PSNI in saying this; I simply report one of our unfortunate realities.
There has been much news in the papers recently about the Metropolitan Police investigation and recent
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I know from experience that many of these investigations will be profoundly difficult. Over the years, witnesses and suspects may have died, memories will fail, dementia will afflict some witnesses and forensic opportunities will have been lost because of the failure to manage exhibits properly and the passage of time. The RUC routinely destroyed evidential exhibits which were contaminated by blood-noble Lords will understand that many exhibits in murder investigations are contaminated by blood-files were lost as a consequence of explosions and files were contaminated by asbestos and destroyed. None of these is a reason not to try to investigate.
The people of Northern Ireland lived for 40 years in a situation in which even agents of the state were involved in both unlawful killings and other unlawful and, indeed, criminal activity. In these circumstances, confidence in the rule of law was inevitably seriously undermined. As we seek to establish a new Northern Ireland-which is still part of the United Kingdom-we should surely do all we can to consolidate that peace so that it does not break down again and so that we do not see the re-emergence of terrorism as a daily problem in our lives.
I have previously suggested-I do so again-that there should be one independent investigation unit charged with investigating all the unsolved deaths of the Troubles. It should have full police powers and be properly resourced; it should incorporate the Police Ombudsman's historic inquiries, the HET inquiries and any current police investigations of deaths which occurred during the Troubles. This would obviate the necessity for the current duplication of work and it would be cheaper to run because one could utilise the current combined costs of the PSNI historic investigations, the HET and the Police Ombudsman historic investigations.
There are accounts which can be given to families even where there can be no prosecution-I have done this. In so doing, it is profoundly important that the families are given every piece of information except that which may imperil life or jeopardise current investigation or anti-terrorist methodologies. We do not need to protect the methodologies of the past.
As Saville concluded, Bloody Sunday was a tragedy for the bereaved and the wounded and a catastrophe for the people of Northern Ireland. There are still things to be done to address the consequences of the Northern Ireland Troubles and I urge the Government to think about the establishment of one unit to investigate the past. I record my thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Shutt, for organising today's debate.
Lord Browne of Belmont: My Lords, the Saville report is a thorough examination of the events and issues arising from Bloody Sunday. The Prime Minister has apologised to the families of those who died. Loss of life has a direct, negative effect on families and communities for generations, and he refused to defend the indefensible. The state is an arbiter of justice and must be held accountable to maintain its credibility. The Chief of the General Staff, General Sir David Richards, has endorsed the Prime Minister's apology, and Army procedures have been amended to ensure that there is no recurrence of incidents of a similar nature.
However, it should be remembered that the events of Bloody Sunday took place at a time when Northern Ireland faced great political and social instability. In 1972, 140 members of the security forces and 250 civilians were killed on the streets of the Province. We all owe an immense debt of gratitude to those who served in the security forces. Without their bravery and dedication, the number of civilian deaths would undoubtedly have been very much greater. There were many who paid with their lives, and their families had to deal with loss and bereavement.
The report gives rise to a number of moral, political and financial questions concerning future prosecutions, treatment of the past and the enormous cost of this type of inquiry. These have important implications for future policy, each of which I shall attempt to address in turn.
The possibility of instituting criminal proceedings against some Army personnel is under consideration. Some have suggested that a verdict of unlawful killing should close the matter. Others consider that soldiers who lied may have committed perjury. This matter, too, is under investigation. I have no hesitation in supporting strongly the maxim that everyone is equal before the law and equally subject to its terms. However, for several reasons, I do not believe that prosecutions of military personnel in these circumstances would constitute an even-handed application of the law.
First, it is always easier to prosecute agents of the state, who may be held accountable for their actions and are readily identifiable, than terrorists, who are unaccountable and usually unidentifiable. Secondly, since it is now almost 40 years since the events took place, much of the relevant evidence must inevitably be unreliable. Thirdly, many IRA prisoners were released early from prison under the terms of the Belfast agreement. To apply different sentencing rules to proceedings against military personnel would be unjust. Finally, the undertaking given by the Attorney-General in 1999 that witnesses at the inquiry would not be able to incriminate themselves should not be ignored.
Several suggestions have been made concerning future expedients for investigation of past events and promotion of reconciliation between the two communities in Northern Ireland. Recently, proposals for further inquiries on the Saville model have been widely canvassed. I believe strongly that these are misguided both on practical and financial grounds. Clearly, it is difficult to distinguish in terms of gravity between the facts of
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Nevertheless, in my opinion, their interests would not be best served by the establishment of another Saville-type inquiry. Saville was sui generis. The inquiry formed an integral part of the negotiations leading to the Belfast agreement. Furthermore, huge media attention meant that the worldwide reputation of the British Army and British justice were at stake.
We have heard that the Saville inquiry cost around £200 million. It is reported that 14 lawyers became millionaires during the 12 years of its deliberations.. Vast sums of public money have also been spent on inquiries into the deaths of Billy Wright, Rosemary Nelson and Robert Hamill. However, do such inquiries, which primarily examine the state's role in the relevant events, really benefit the victims, their families and indeed society as a whole? May not further examination of painful events lead to greater alienation of communities rather than the healing of divisions?
In my view, scarce public funds could be put to better use in ameliorating the quality of life of victims and their families. Indeed, in Northern Ireland, a Commission for Victims and Survivors has already been established and four victims commissioners have been appointed: the search for a satisfactory method of providing aid to victims should not be abandoned.
There are proposals to establish a legacy commission or a South African-style truth and reconciliation commission, but I believe that they would have little merit. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who headed the latter body, considered that a similar commission might not be effective in Northern Ireland. More specifically, Judge Albie Sachs of South Africa's Constitutional Court acknowledged that the commission emerged from intense and specific needs in that country. In contrast, Northern Ireland was never governed by an apartheid regime: it was a liberal democracy threatened by terrorism where no one was ever denied voting rights on grounds of ethnicity or religion. This essential truth is often obscured by the fog of propaganda that usually surrounds political developments in Northern Ireland.
Moreover, the South African commission was established after the cessation of the ANC's campaign of violence. Regrettably, recent bomb attacks in Northern Ireland are clear evidence that a significant number of Irish republicans have not abandoned violence as a political tool. For that reason, the moral dilemma posed by the possible grant of immunity from prosecution remains acute.
It has been suggested that a legacy commission which would not offer an amnesty might be more appropriate. However, if immunity were not offered, it
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Effective ways of dealing with the past do exist. The Historical Enquiries Team, a unit of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, is still working on outstanding cases. Its main aim is to bring closure to those families who have unanswered questions about the death or disappearance of loved ones. The team has a running cost of over £6 million while the PSNI spends around £11 million a year on investigating and reviewing past murders and inquests. This represents public money well spent; proper funding of existing bodies is usually more effective than the creation of new, controversial and often expensive quangos.
Another constructive proposal that has been supported by Northern Ireland's First Minister, Peter Robinson, is the establishment of an aural and video archive for victims and survivors of the Troubles. This would be a relatively inexpensive way of facilitating research by victims and survivors who wished to learn more about incidents which affected them. Above all, the views of victims' relatives and of survivors should be listened to with empathy and respect. If they wish to recall past events, their accounts should be recorded with understanding and sensitivity. The foundation of a memorial bursary might be a fitting recognition of their suffering, which would at the same time leave a positive legacy for future generations.
To provide closure, the truth must be told, but a plethora of costly inquiries is not a necessary prerequisite for this. There comes a time when it is in the interests of all to move on rather than engage in re-examining painful incidents from the past. This simply causes further hurt, rather than healing divided communities. The Government clearly want to draw a line and move forward, and I am in full agreement with this approach. May Saville mark the end of costly legal inquiries. May it be the inquiry that marks an end to all inquiries into the Troubles. We must continue to listen to victims and survivors and help them rebuild their lives: at the same time, we must avoid the rancour which inevitably accompanies litigation and the attribution of blame. It is my hope that Northern Ireland can move forward to a positive future in a spirit of tolerance and understanding.
Baroness Smith of Basildon: My Lords, first, I put on record how grateful I am to the noble Lord, Lord Shutt, for giving us the opportunity for today's debate, which, after the contributions we have heard, has been extremely worth while. I thank my noble friend Lady Royall for her comments earlier, with which I associate myself. I join others in praising the commitment and diligence of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Saville, and his team. This was clearly a highly complex, controversial and difficult inquiry, and the final report and the Government's response do both him and the Government great credit.
Many of your Lordships have quoted from the report. He makes it clear that none of the 13 people who were killed or those who were injured posed a threat of causing death or serious injury on the day now known as Bloody Sunday. His conclusion regarding what happened on that day is the quote that most affected me. He said:
"What happened on Bloody Sunday strengthened the Provisional IRA, increased nationalist resentment and hostility towards the Army and exacerbated the violent conflict of the years that followed. Bloody Sunday was a tragedy for the bereaved and the wounded, and a catastrophe for the people of Northern Ireland".
It was not just a catastrophe for some people of Northern Ireland, for one community or another; it was clearly a catastrophe for the whole of Northern Ireland and beyond. Although in 1972 alone 500 lost their lives, in over 30 years more than 3,500 were killed and many more were wounded. It just was not possible for people to get on with their lives and put behind them the violent political war around them; it touched every part of society.
The effects of those years never leave those who lived through them. We are all aware of the obvious impact, but a small example, not a dramatic one, was brought home to me shortly after I was made a Minister for Northern Ireland in 2001. That was a time, as noble Lords may recall, when the Assembly was suspended, at the time of what became known as Stormontgate. My noble friend Lady Armstrong informed me that I was going there as a Minister, she said for a matter of weeks or possibly a few months. I remained there for three and a half years. While I was on my first duty weekend, Belfast was hit by a bomb scare. My recollection is that the bomb was real but for some reason it did not properly detonate, so there were no injuries, but it created total chaos and traffic congestion all through Belfast on a Friday afternoon. Roads were closed, and people could not get home or into events in the city in the evening. That night at a concert at the Waterfront Hall, it was obviously the main topic of conversation. The comment that stayed with me was from a woman of about the age that I am now. She was really quite upset and said, "I'd forgotten. This is what it was like every single day, and today has brought it all back". She went on to tell me that she had sent her children across to England to get them out of Northern Ireland. She was not the only one. There were so many young people, crucial to the future of Northern Ireland, who left their homes. Many of them never returned. In so many ways, the euphemistically named Troubles were a catastrophe for the whole of Northern Ireland.
In looking at the issues that the Saville report raises and the wider issue of how we deal with the past, I should like to use my time in this debate to speak as a former victims Minister for Northern Ireland, in which I followed in the distinguished footsteps of my noble friend Lord Browne of Ladyton. In that role I visited and spoke with many individuals and groups across the political divide who had lost loved ones, and with others who had been injured and suffered themselves. For very different reasons, they all described themselves as victims or survivors of the Troubles. It is very difficult for us in other parts of the UK to really and truly appreciate the depth and impact of these emotions. When so many people in the community have been
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Among the organisations that had an impact on and impressed me was one called CALMS, in Londonderry, or Derry, where I met two young women from very different backgrounds. One had lost her brother, who had been in the IRA, while the other-who had become her friend-was from a Protestant background; I think it was her father who had been killed. Both of them and their families had suffered, but they had been prepared to talk to each other and share their grief. They wanted to try to understand something from the experience. They admitted that it was difficult. Neither felt completely at ease in each other's community, but they had challenged each other's misconceptions about who they were and what they believed in, with amazing results. Others found it far harder to mix in that way but nevertheless found comfort in being able to relax with others who had been affected as they had, and who understood.
I was hugely impressed by a group of RUC widows that I met-women who, when their husbands died, were left with small children and had to raise families on their own, with very little support. They had never been thanked or praised for what they had achieved for their families. I also recall visiting Ballymurphy women's centre in west Belfast, which my noble friend referred to a moment ago. At that time there were few ministerial visits to the area and a heavy police presence. Outside the centre, there was a peaceful but clearly highly emotional demonstration for the 11 people killed in 1971, as the noble Baroness, Lady O'Loan, described. They held up photographs of their loved ones who had been killed. They just wanted to know why this was allowed to happen and how it could have happened. They just wanted answers.
Many people have struggled to make sense of the information they have received about the death of their loved one. I met so many people who had painstakingly tried to piece together information from different sources to try to get to the truth. Others just wanted the opportunity to tell the story of how they had been affected without the fear of others' judgment. I think I understand the Government's position on not having any new inquiries but I do not yet understand what will replace them. The Minister has referred to the work of the HET and the police ombudsman. However, we can never use those to replace a mechanism for getting to the truth, or underestimate the need to know the truth. That is not to say that it is easy, because it is not. It is often difficult and often painful and it is always complex. However, it is surely the right thing to do.
The extremely impressive report by the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Eames, and Denis Bradley faced some criticism when the Consultative Group on the Past, which they jointly chaired, tried to address how Northern Ireland can deal with its past. Some of the proposals were more acceptable than others to the
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I appreciate the arguments about the cost of inquiries or the alternatives; surely there is not a single person in Northern Ireland who supports the inquiries who could not think of other ways to spend that money, such as on creating jobs or on building new schools. We have also heard about the need for hip replacements. However, it is the Troubles that have exacted such a high price in both financial and human cost that it is probably immeasurable. That creates a duty to try to take some action to deal with the issues that have been raised today.
I am not aware that anyone is asking for any other Saville-type open-ended inquiries. People are asking for a mechanism that allows independent investigation and an apology where appropriate, and that is essential.
In looking to the future, we cannot see political issues in isolation. We have to recognise the current economic climate and its impact on the political. During those 30 years or so, Northern Ireland did not suffer just physically and emotionally, it also suffered economically. Today's report from PricewaterhouseCoopers makes worrying reading. It reports that 20,000 jobs could be lost under the public spending cuts, which would have a knock-on effect of 16,000 job losses in the private sector. Will the Minister press on the Government the need to consider seriously the impact of any public expenditure cuts in Northern Ireland? For reasons that have been discussed today, there has been a greater emphasis and dependence there on the public sector, which provides around 30 per cent of the jobs in the economy. Who other than the Government would invest in Northern Ireland after Bloody Sunday?
The devolved Administration are committed, and actively seeking, to bring in new private investment and create a greater proportion of private sector jobs. To succeed in that, though, they need the political stability to earn and maintain the confidence of private investors. If cuts are made too deeply and quickly, that will impact on the economic-and therefore the political-stability of Northern Ireland, and that hard fought-for private sector investment will just melt away. Political and economic stability are related, and it would be illogical and wrong for the Government to work to preserve one while undermining the other.
In conclusion, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Saville, and his team have done more than present an exceptional report on Bloody Sunday; they have reinvigorated the quest for truth. Governments, in setting up the inquiry and in the way that they have responded, have helped to create confidence in the process of truth and investigation. The challenge now is to ensure that everything possible is done to maintain
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Lord Alderdice: My Lords, it has been said on a number of occasions in quoting the Saville report today that Bloody Sunday was a personal tragedy for the victims and indeed for their friends and families, a social and political catastrophe for all the people of Northern Ireland and a military and political disaster for the British Army. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Saville of Newdigate, has rightly made that crystal clear. I am not at all convinced, though, that had his report come out and been greeted or responded to by the Prime Minister with a carefully crafted response pointing up all the difficulties of the time, the pressures that the Army was under and so on, there would have been any transformational outcome from the expenditure of this enormous amount of money and long period of time.
As the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloyd of Berwick, said, as did my noble friend Lord Macdonald of River Glaven in a wonderful maiden speech, it was the Prime Minister's speech that was transformational for the people in Derry. As I listened to it myself, I was reminded very much of the remarkable speech that Barack Obama made on racism during his presidential campaign, where he tore up his carefully crafted speech and wrote something that was passionate, human and engaging with the problem. That is what the Prime Minister did: he engaged passionately in a committed way, understanding quite deeply the pain that was involved for all concerned, and he gave a complete, total and absolute apology. To me, that is what was transformational.
To say that the Saville report was crucial and positive is not to say that the inquiry is the only way that things could have been done, nor is it to say that expenditure of almost £200 million over 12 years was necessary to reach such an outcome. I find it difficult to see how it was necessary to spend a great deal more than South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was dealing with the pain of the whole period of apartheid. Whether that was the only and absolutely necessary way of dealing with the problem is the issue that I wish to address this evening. Frankly, I do not believe that the expenditure was necessary and I think that we need to learn from our experience. However, that is not to say that what we have gone through has not been importantly transformational or that the outcome of the Saville inquiry-the report itself and the judgments on it-was not absolutely right, crystal clear and extremely important. For me, that is not the issue.
As has been pointed out already, there are limitations to any such judicial inquiry. Let me give just one example without referring at all to the wider political context. On 9 June this year, the historical inquiries team published another of its many reports. The report investigates the killing of 41 year-old William McGreanery, who was shot by a British solider in September 1971, substantially in advance of Bloody Sunday. Although the RUC's Chief Superintendent
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"If soldier A was guilty of any crime in this case, it would be manslaughter and not murder. Soldier A whether he acted wrongly or not, was at all times acting in the course of his duty and I cannot see how the malice, express or implied, necessary to constitute murder could be applied to his conduct".
There is a case to be made that that ruling-entirely inadvertently, I am sure-might have created a sense among young British soldiers at the time that they enjoyed an element of impunity if they were acting in the course of their duty. Such a case could be made. All I want to point out is that that would have been outwith the remit of the Saville inquiry, yet wholly relevant to understanding how the events of the time came about.
The key to understanding the importance of Bloody Sunday and the greater need for an inquiry into those events than into many other circumstances is the profound symbolic significance of Bloody Sunday. Next year, we will recall the tragedy of the sinking of the "Titanic", with the loss of many hundreds of lives. The fact that we will not remember many other ships that sank with terrible loss of life means not that those who died on the "Titanic" were more important than those who died on other ships but that that tragedy was, in the words of my noble friend and countryman Lord Mawhinney, iconic. To give a perhaps more relevant example, those who died in the Sharpeville massacre were not somehow more important than others who died, but there was an iconic or symbolic significance to their deaths that somehow came to embody all sorts of other things. That kind of significance is by no means unique. Indeed, my friend Professor Vamik Volkan, who has looked at many areas of trouble and conflict throughout the world, has observed that, in almost every situation where such conflict goes on for a long period, there is what he calls a "chosen trauma". He does not mean that the trauma is chosen in a conscious way but that there is some traumatic experience that comes to sum up and express, almost in a couple of words, the awfulness of people's experience.
The need for an inquiry into Bloody Sunday was not because there needed to be an individual inquiry into every other case to achieve what was necessary but rather because the inquiry emblemised something. However, the inquiry could emblemise that only if the British Government then responded with true regret and deep apology for what happened. This is why it is not only the inquiry that we need to understand, but the response that it evinced.
Then there is the question of whether this inquiry is of the kind that should be embarked on. There has been almost a suggestion that if the Government say that there should be no more open-ended inquiries, there should be no more inquiries of any kind. It seems to me that that is not the question. The noble Baroness, Lady O'Loan, has pointed out that there are at least four institutions that undertake inquiries: the HET, the PSNI, the ombudsman and the coroner. There is no proposition to get rid of the investigative capacity of the PSNI, the ombudsman or the coroner,
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The noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Eames, has experience of how difficult it is, no matter how much time you allow and how much you consult, to come up with a mechanism or device that deals with the past. First, it is not always possible to cure and redeem all of the past. As a psychiatrist, I found it frustrating at times that people seemed to accept that if someone had been physically damaged by having lost a leg, it was not replaceable, but if there was a psychological problem, there must be some way of resolving it. That is not true. Some people are emotionally destroyed and it is not possible to repair the damage. That can be true of communities as well. We should not always assume that everything can be resolved.
Secondly, in trying to resolve things we should be a little modest about what we can do. That something needs to be done does not necessarily mean that the Government should be doing it. There are already investigative agencies that need the resources to continue to investigate the past. They are continuing to do so, as has been made clear. However, when we talk about the victims and the need for closure, how much resource has been given to assist the emotional and support needs of individuals and their families? I tabled a Question in your Lordships' House for the previous Government, to ask whether they had looked at the financial consequences of giving help and succour-psychologically and emotionally-to the victims of the Troubles. Had they looked at any other part of the world where this had been necessary? Had they looked at the financial consequences of dealing with these things for the health service in Northern Ireland? The answer was no, they had not looked at it at all. They had focused entirely on legal devices for addressing these problems. I am in no way against legal devices; I just do not think they are the only way of dealing with our problems. There are human, psychological, relational and emotional ways of dealing with these things that have been hugely under-resourced in Northern Ireland.
Thirdly, we should not underestimate the importance of the political process in helping people to get over the experiences of the past. It really does make a difference to many people to see former enemies working together for the benefit of the community. Many people then feel that whatever the pain they suffered, at least the community has somehow moved on. That responsibility is a heavy and burdensome one on those who are currently Ministers in the devolved Assembly. They must show that political progress can work, and that relationships built now from the ashes of the past 30 years in some fashion redeem all the misery that was created. I hope they appreciate and understand that.
I have already mentioned that there are other institutions that can undertake inquiries. The noble Lord, Lord Bew, has pointed out that in other countries they do not depend solely on lawyers to assist them when it comes to inquiring into the past. There are others, which have other contributions to make. Perhaps
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Lord Tebbit: My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Lord for giving way. Does he not recognise the extraordinary disproportionality between the size and the sheer resources devoted to the Londonderry inquiry as opposed to the paucity of resources devoted to inquiries where the victims are on the other side of the political divide?
Lord Alderdice: My Lords, I entirely understand that. I also appreciate that even in comparison with the paucity of the money devoted to those legal inquiries, the amount of money devoted to caring for victims' emotional needs is pitiable in my experience of working with some of these people. My concern is precisely that we focus too much on judicial inquiries of any kind.
I have noticed in the recent past that people in Northern Ireland-former journalists, academics, victims on all sides, former paramilitaries, those who have lost loved ones, former security force members-have started to come together to tell each other their stories away from the limelight and reporting and with no support from government at all. I am rather more hopeful that that kind of rebuilding and knitting together of relationships among ordinary people in Northern Ireland may do more to heal our broken society than any further major government interventions other than the normal, proper due process of the administration of law done with a human face and a human heart.
Lord Ramsbotham: My Lords, I join others in thanking the noble Lord, Lord Shutt, for enabling this debate to take place. I declare an interest as when these events occurred I was the military assistant to the Chief of the General Staff, Field-Marshal Lord Carver, based in London, and as such I had to give evidence to the Saville inquiry for four and a half hours. Like my noble friend Lord Bew, I am bound to say that I thought that was perhaps a touch long to repeat the same question several times. The question was all about whether General Carver-as he then was-had been part of a conspiracy with the Prime Ministers here and in Northern Ireland to use the march as an excuse to go into the Bogside and take it over, which was totally removed from any possibility of achievement, let alone desire, because there were simply not enough soldiers available to take on that task.
For me, Bloody Sunday began with another event which I shall never forget. On that morning, a very gallant close friend and colleague, Major Robin Alers-Hankey, died in hospital in London. Robin had been shot in Londonderry in September while commanding his company. He was putting down a march not very far from the area described in the report when the crowd opened, a sniper fired through the gap and the crowd then came together so that it was impossible for
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There has been a great deal of criticism of the Widgery report during today's debate. However, two aspects of that report and the Saville inquiry are exactly the same: first, that no deaths would have happened unless the ban on marches had been defied, which inevitably led to a clash with the security forces-that was the circumstance-and, secondly, that some soldiers acted with restraint and some without fire discipline. All that has happened in the intervening time is that a great deal more details are available in the Saville inquiry. It has gone into much more than Widgery did. Sadly, as a result of all this, 1st Battalion, The Parachute Regiment and Bloody Sunday join Brigadier-General Dyer and Amritsar as examples of stains on what the British Army stands for and does.
Perhaps I may make one or two comments about the circumstances of operating in Northern Ireland which echo what the noble Lord, Lord Mawhinney, said, and very firmly contradict the noble Lord, Lord Smith of Clifton. It was always a great problem for us going into Northern Ireland in those early days after we were put there in 1969, not as the Army to do an army job, but as people to take over from the RUC when it became exhausted. Unlike many other situations around the world in what were called peacekeeping operations or keeping the peace, the Army went in when the police handed over to it. You acted as the Army and you gave the situation back to the police as quickly as you could. Unfortunately, from 1969 onwards, there was a long period when the Army was acting as police, for which it is not trained or equipped, in areas where law and order did not run under the hands of the RUC. It was always problematic and difficult for soldiers who were trained to act as soldiers to have to be pseudo-policemen.
I had the great privilege of commanding my battalion in Belfast for four months, and then I commanded the brigade there for two years. During those two years, every Sunday, for month after month, there were marches which we had to put down. I was very fortunate in having an extremely good policeman in Belfast with whom I worked very closely and we always agreed at what moment we the military would take over responsibility, and we handed it back to him as soon as we could,. It always remains for me one of the great tragedies of Bloody Sunday that Brigadier MacLellan, who was in a similar position to mine in Belfast, was denied the presence of his policeman, Chief Superintendant Lagan, who chose that day not to be there. Lagan had recommended that the march be allowed in the first place and, therefore, he was, in a way, opposed to what happened. However, the absence of a policeman made life doubly difficult for Brigadier MacLellan, particularly in the difficult position of deciding on the moment when arrests squads could go in.
That is, of course, a matter for Saville and the past. As Lord Acton once said, hindsight is the privilege of the historians. I have been interested that the theme of this debate appears to have been the words, "It is time to move on". It is certainly time to move on as far as the Army is concerned and, like many other noble Lords, I listened with admiration to the very clear, unambiguous and brave words of the Prime Minister on 15 June which were read out in this House. It was instantly followed by a message to the Army from the Chief of the General Staff. I should like to read out from it, because it seems to have been made exactly in that same spirit. Referring to the whole of Operation Banner, the message states:
"The overwhelming majority of those deployed conducted themselves with utter professionalism, restraint and humanity and played an important role in protecting the people of Northern Ireland, providing much needed stability and thereby helping to set the conditions for the peace Northern Ireland enjoys today. The cost was high: we will always remember the 651 service personnel killed, and the 6,307 wounded during the course of the operation, not to mention the grievous police and civilian casualties ... We ask a lot of our young soldiers, given the incredibly complex environment in which they have to operate and the magnitude of the decisions they have to take, often on a daily basis. I want to stress that rightly we are held to account for our conduct and must always operate within the law. But I would like commanders to assure those under their command that they will, like me, support all soldiers who have acted in good faith and in keeping with the Army's values and standards, if and when their actions come under scrutiny ... It is a sign of a healthy organisation that we can look back on our past actions, admit our mistakes, and learn from them, so we are stronger and better for the future".
Having heard the wise words of the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Eames, and others, it is clear to me that Northern Ireland wants to move on. I believe you can take a view-many noble Lords have mentioned aspects of this-that Northern Ireland could be better and stronger in the future having been through what it has. It is of course important that aspects of the past are cleared up and healed, and I absolutely accept the need for something other than inquiries. My noble friend Lady O'Loan mentioned one organisation and, in terms of simplicity, I would always welcome that. However, in achieving that and looking forward, I hope that there will be inquiries into all aspects of what went on and not just those involving the security forces. In view of what they have done and what they still do, it would be wrong for them to feel that it is they who are always going to be singled out, as opposed to those who have perpetrated the problems that they have been brought in to solve.
Lord Morrow: My Lords, I welcome the opportunity to speak in this debate. Coming in at No. 20 behind a list of eminent speakers, I think that much that I would have referred to has perhaps been said, but noble Lords will forgive me if there is some repetition in my comments.
In a 30-year reflection on any event, there is sometimes a tendency to look at matters through rose-tinted glasses, although I suspect that, on close examination, we could all be guilty of that. Two hundred million pounds is a large sum of money by anyone's standards. Were this House to have such a colossal sum at its disposal, what an appreciable difference we could make to the lives of all the people of Northern Ireland. Instead, in an economic climate such as this, this
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The outcome was doomed from the start, as I shall explain. It was ever apparent that, no matter the result, at best one section of the community would be sceptical over the findings, feeling disfranchised and alienated and regarding it as a sop; at worst, some would have resorted to more violence on the streets, had they not got the result that they wanted.
The sad truth is that, yet again, the Protestant community was resigned from the start to the inevitability of the outcome going against its views of the events. Such resignation stems from past experience of government policy over at least two generations, which has been to appease those who shout the loudest and to acquiesce in the views of those who could prove the bigger threat. The harsh reality is that the predictability of the findings is further proof of the extent to which successive Governments and the establishment at every level have incessantly pandered to those who are contemptuous of the rule of law in the UK. They behave thus in a vain attempt to keep the seemingly acceptable face of republicanism on the supposed straight and narrow political path. However, your Lordships need no aide-memoire on the futility of feeding the proverbial crocodile. This inquiry was part of the deal, which has its roots in the Belfast agreement, to entice republicans away from terrorism and into the political process.
Evidence was heard from none other than Martin McGuinness, who admitted to being the IRA's second in command in the area on the day in question. That is the same Martin McGuinness who now sits as Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister and who would probably be recognised as a statesman. In June, one national newspaper said of Saville that,
"This is one-directional justice. Each individual will have to work out for themselves whether this constitutes the mature behaviour of a democracy at its very best, or a wasteful exercise in appeasing a political sympathy that has been appeased for too many years".
Mr McGuinness, as we are all aware, suffers from selective amnesia. Over the summer, we learnt that he forgot that he had spoken to a priest named Father Chesney, who was the prime suspect in the Claudy massacre. Claudy is not that far from Londonderry. Initially, Mr McGuinness vehemently denied even knowing this man; indeed, he could not remember talking to Father Chesney on his deathbed, which one would suspect would be an emotional, evocative and unforgettable experience. Paradoxically, he can clearly remember incidents from 30 years ago on Bloody
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To put the events in context, 1st Battalion the Parachute Regiment was on site as tensions were running high following the slaughter of two RUC officers three days before. The civil rights march, as we have been reminded, was not a legal march. Gunfire broke out against the Army, which returned fire-Lord Widgery described it as being done "recklessly" and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Saville, describes the actions as "unjustified". The outcome of both inquiries is fundamentally the same. Saville, of course, was much more expensive.
As I have previously told this House, we had no need for a £200-million inquiry to establish that there was no premeditated plan to shoot civilians on that day. We did not need an inquiry of this length to inform us that, as a consequence of IRA actions prior to that day, parts of Londonderry "lay in ruins", to use the words of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Saville. Therein is an injustice itself.
Many murders, bombings, shootings and hijackings were perpetrated against innocent people in those 30 years of Northern Ireland's tragic history-all without a public inquiry. It should be remembered that no one has ever been charged, let alone convicted, of the murders of the two RUC men that effectively sparked the events of Bloody Sunday. Moreover, the RUC lost more than 300 of its officers during the Troubles and, for more than 200 of those murders, no one has ever been tried, convicted or put before a court. Of course, for those officers of the law there will be no public inquiries. There will be no inquiry into the Remembrance Day massacre at Enniskillen; the massacre of the innocent at the La Mon House Hotel; Bloody Friday, when a series of bombs were planted strategically across Belfast leaving few routes of escape; Teebane, where workers were slaughtered in their van as they returned home; Kingsmill, when the IRA separated the Protestants from the Roman Catholics and gunned them down in cold blood; the Ballygawley Road/Omagh Road massacre of soldiers; Narrow Water, when 18 paras were massacred; and Darkley, when a small Pentecostal church was invaded by the IRA and people were murdered as they worshipped. There was the murder of Lord Mountbatten and the bombings at Hyde Park, Warrington, Brighton and Canary Wharf. I could go on. The list is seemingly endless.
It has been said in this House that there is but one inquiry that needs to be dealt with. I think that I have demonstrated quite clearly that there is more than one. It strikes me that there are 101. So why was there a Saville inquiry? The answer is abundantly clear. Political expediency was the order of the day, although that is
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The report has pilloried the Army for its actions on that day. The truth is that the soldiers had a job to do in exceptionally difficult circumstances. It should be remembered that, but for their presence in Northern Ireland, many more lives would have been lost. I want to get that on record. I want to pay tribute to every soldier who served in Northern Ireland during those dark 30 years of misery and for the sacrifices that many were called on to make, including the laying down of their lives.
When the Saville report is stripped of its glossy cover, millionaire lawyers and high-profile status, what remains? Certainly, in the wake of this 12-year inquiry, there are lessons to be learnt. So many ineffectual reports from numerous commissions have been produced; this has been the second run at a report covering the events that are now known in common parlance as Bloody Sunday. But for how much longer and how many more times will we be forced backwards to trawl through the ashes of the evil deeds that have gone 30 years before? I suspect that some would be content to carry on with such fruitless endeavours until the past is completely rewritten to suit them and their purposes.
The people of Northern Ireland want to move on. They have severe economic challenges to face and consider that money could be better spent on delivering services to enhance the standard of their lives. Let me be clear: the people of Northern Ireland are done with money pits that deliver very little. They have no appetite for further public inquiries or the nonsense of a proposed truth commission.
Baroness O'Loan: My Lords, the noble Lord speaks with some apparent authority about the views of the people of Northern Ireland. I do not know on what he rests his authority, but I am aware from my seven years working with the victims of the Troubles across the whole community that there are many such people. Is he not aware that there are many people who would like the answers to what happened to their loved ones?
Lord Morrow: I have heard what the noble Baroness has said. I have been an elected representative for some 35 years, during which time I have presented myself continually to the electorate and have been returned at every election, so that may be some authority. In relation to people wanting answers, the noble Baroness, Lady O'Loan, is quite right. People want answers, but I am not sure that they want to be trawled through more endless inquiries. There has to be a better way. Quite frankly, we have made a new start in Northern Ireland. Let us give it a chance and try to move forward. Are we are going to continually go down the road of selective inquiries? Bloody Sunday was a real tragedy and people lost their lives, and I do not minimise it in any way, but are we going to go down
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Lord Glentoran: My Lords, in 1971, 496 people died in Northern Ireland, which was the highest casualty rate in any year of the Troubles. I am not as confident as everybody would appear to be about the Saville report. Throughout the 12 years that it has been going on, I sat on the Benches opposite and hassled to try to get something out of it in a reasonable length of time. I failed abjectly. However, we have been in power for only a few months, and my right honourable friend the Secretary of State got the report published and the Prime Minister made his major Statement in a very short space of time. Why that did not happen under the previous Secretary of State is anybody's guess.
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: I respectfully point out to the noble Lord and the rest of the House that the report was ready to go when the election was called. It was ready as a consequence of the actions of my Government working in tandem with the Government of the noble Lord. I fully respect the noble Lord, but I do not respect what he just said about the timing of the publication. The Prime Minister did a magnificent job with his Statement, but I take issue with the noble Lord on the timing issue.
Lord Glentoran: I accept what the noble Baroness says, but will attempt to correct it after a nod in this House. The reason why I am little unhappy about the report has not been mentioned. It is that a certain lawyer who was representing the Army claimed that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Saville, cherry-picked the evidence to help to paint the picture that he wanted,
Another negative about the report is from the civil rights organisation British Irish Rights Watch. It states that what saddens it is that after all this time and all this effort very little more is known about Bloody Sunday than was known before the inquiry took place and that the report begs more questions than it answers.
That is a serious warning about the future. I accept the plight of the victims and that victims are our major concern and should be. In Northern Ireland, when we are talking about the affairs that we are talking about today, there is nothing more important than the care of victims, particularly in the past.
The world has changed. Londonderry is now a city of culture. Who could have imagined that in 1972? As the noble Baroness, Lady Royall, and others said, the Prime Minister made a fantastic, emotional Statement in another place that went a long way to appeasing a large number of people in Derry. I have spoken to one or two people to whom noble Lords might not have expected me to speak, one of whom was at our party conference. He assured me that the families of Bloody Sunday victims are largely relaxed-they are unhappy and sad-and do not wish to push for prosecutions.
Where are we now? Where do we go? A lot of people have talked about where we are and where we go, but we have not had any answers yet. A lot of the press statements and other comments-I also have it from Sinn Fein-indicate that prosecutions are not being sought. There also is legal evidence of the requisites that will have to be met if prosecutions are to take place. There has to be a better than 50/50 chance of getting a conviction, which has to be in the public interest. Certainly, defence lawyers would use the 38 years, or perhaps 40 years, rule before bringing people to trial. So that rules out prosecution of the soldiers. A further fact is that if soldiers were brought to court and convicted, they would not spend a single day in jail because of past legislation and all the other things that go with it.
As far as we are concerned, prosecutions for the future are off the table as regards Bloody Sunday, even though-someone might want to stir things up-some soldiers have admitted perjury. However, they still cannot be prosecuted because, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Saville, said, they cannot convict themselves. Hence, that is out too. We have no possibility of any convictions, trials or prosecutions for the happenings of Bloody Sunday.
Let us return to where we go now, on which a lot of people have spoken. I agree that we have to go forward. We have to find a way of giving people some satisfaction that they know what happened. We have to do our best to ensure that the families of victims and so on are kept as well informed as possible about what happened on particular days. I do not believe that going forward with major inquiries costing millions of pounds, with the sole objective of finding some evidence to give comfort to family and friends, is a way to go.
Of the inquiries that are going on now, as is well known, the Wright inquiry found nothing. It did not even find how guns were got into the jail. Mr Wright, the father, is still as bitter, twisted and unhappy as he was before. He got no satisfaction out of that inquiry, which cost £30 million. We can go on. I am sure that the noble Baroness, Lady O'Loan, has some good examples, while I am reading out the not-very-good ones. That is where I think that we are.
In summary, I do not believe that the Saville report was a great success or that it achieved very much more than the Widgery report. The whole thing was almost a white elephant. I accept what noble Lords have said about being wise with hindsight, but that is where we are. It is very important that, following the speeches made by the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Eames, the noble Lord, Lord Mawhinney, and others, we find a Christian, solid way of going forward, and of handling these things when they happen.
Baroness Crawley: My Lords, it is always a pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, even though I disagree with 90 per cent of what he said. We have had a sober, measured and wide-ranging debate on the Bloody Sunday inquiry. Many noble Lords who have spoken today served with great distinction as Ministers in Northern Ireland, while others have spoken movingly of their personal experience, as we heard from the
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Many noble Lords have repeated those words and I believe quite rightly too. Given that another 26 years of sectarianism and wrecked lives across Northern Ireland would pass before the Saville inquiry started in July 1998, and given that the inquiry itself would be so controversial in its length and cost-we have heard about that from many noble Lords-it would be remiss of us not to reflect on the lessons both of the events themselves on 30 January 1972 in Londonderry-Derry-as well as on the public inquiry process and its future. In response to the publication of the inquiry report on 15 June 2010, the Prime Minister mentioned,
Also in his June Statement, the Prime Minister expressed his immense pride in the skills of the British Army, and we have heard those expressions of pride repeated today by noble Lords and the noble and gallant Lord. They have talked of the difficult work undertaken by the Army over the years in Northern Ireland, where in 38 years, over 1,000 members of the security services lost their lives. Having been one of the longest serving Whips at the MoD-it certainly felt like that-I am keenly aware of the extraordinary sacrifices that the members of our Armed Forces undertake on our behalf. But the Prime Minister concluded that on that day, 30 January 1972:
"Some members of our armed forces acted wrongly. The Government is ultimately responsible for the conduct of the armed forces. And for that, on behalf of the Government-and indeed our country-I am deeply sorry".
His apology was greeted with an outpouring of relief and pent-up emotion by the families of the dead and wounded, as my noble friend Lord Dubs has said. One would hope that, with the publication of the report, 38 years of bitterness, questioning and cynicism went some substantial way to being salved.
The report from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Saville, is clear about the 13 mainly young people who were killed that day and the 15 others who were also injured by the Army. Saville concludes that none of the casualties shot by the soldiers of Support Company was armed with a firearm. Moreover, the noble Baroness, Lady O'Loan, reiterated that conclusion. Saville also finds that the soldiers of Support Company reacted by losing their self-control, forgetting or ignoring their instructions and training. Given those stark findings, can the Minister give the House any information about the timetable in which the Director of Public
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Noble Lords who, as I do, wish to see a modern, reconciled Northern Ireland striding forward, free of division and recrimination, will acknowledge the shocking findings of the Saville report and that there was a need for those families to find the truth. I take note of the wise words of my noble friend Lady Smith on the complexity of truth: truth is never simple. What contact since the publication of the report has there been with the families concerned by the Government? What discussions have taken place within the department on the way forward as far as the families' needs are concerned?
It is clear that the Saville conclusions throw into stark relief the fact that many other families and communities across Northern Ireland have suffered loss and violence. We know that more than 3,000 people have died in the conflict in Northern Ireland and that closure for their loss has never been found. Every innocent life lost and family scarred is a tragedy. Therefore, it is important to look at the work of the excellent Historical Enquiries Team and to see what further support it requires in its endeavours to deal with the past. What financial settlement do the Government have in mind for the HET given its present limited budget? Do the Government believe that the HET can in the future run inquiries of the scope of anything like Saville, Billy Wright or any of the other outstanding cases? What about Ballymurphy, the Omagh bombing and Pat Finucane?
If large-scale open-ended public inquiries are to be ended, what is to be put in their place? The Minister will know that you cannot deal with the past just by closing it down. The Inquiries Act 2005 was an attempt to deal with the issue of open-ended inquiries; however, in the debates on that Act, the point was made continually and strongly by the Opposition that inquiries need to be independent. That independence comes at a cost. What is the future for independence if it is not the route of the public inquiry? That question, in many different forms, was raised by the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Eames, the noble Baroness, Lady O'Loan, the noble Lord, Lord Mawhinney, the noble and learned Lords, Lord Carswell, and Lord Lloyd, the noble Lords, Lord Davies and Lord Bew, who made a special plea for historians in his contribution, and many other noble Lords.
In terms of dealing with the burdens of the past, I reiterate the words of my noble friend Lady Royall in thanking the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Eames, and Denis Bradley for their work in the consultative group on the past. I suggest that noble Lords who have not taken part in this debate should look at that important work. The fact that a consensus was not found should not diminish its importance.
The Saville inquiry was costly, long and has been the source of heavy criticism. However, its value is incalculable, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloyd, said, because the Government's commitment to it over the years has built up trust in the community. Unless you have trust, which is a precious commodity,
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In looking to the future, on 20 October the Government will announce their views on the comprehensive spending review. Many are extremely worried at the effect of the cuts on the regions and nations that heavily rely on public sector spending; Northern Ireland is one such example. As economic well-being and political stability are so bound up in Northern Ireland, I implore the Chancellor to tread softly.
We welcome Saville. Our debate today will, I hope-along with further discussions in another place and in partnership with the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly-be part of a continuing conversation about the future stability, in both economic and security terms, of a modern Northern Ireland, without ever forgetting the sacrifices of the past.
I thought that I knew why most people were here today and now I know why everyone is here. It is because in the Chamber today are those who have had a significant involvement at ministerial level, those who are resident and involved in Northern Ireland, those who represent, even personally, the victims, those who represent the Army and those who represent the law. Tone is important and there has been a splendid, measured tone.
Under the counter here, I have the 10 volumes of the Bloody Sunday report. I am delighted that no one has said, "What about that comment on page 538 in volume 10?". Happily, they have not been needed and I am grateful for that.
I have heard noble Lords use the phrase, "It's time to move on". However, I have also heard, not necessarily in these words, "There are a lot of people still searching for the truth". We have to mesh these together. If the search for the truth can be concluded for most people-I do not know about everybody-it gives the help needed to move on.
I made notes on all noble Lords' contributions and I shall do my best to give some response to them. The noble Baroness, Lady Royall, who until May had responsibility in this House for matters relating to Northern Ireland, asked about further inquiries and what is still to happen-it was raised also by the noble Baroness, Lady O'Loan. The Government are acutely aware of the sensitivity of a number of the contentious legacy cases. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is endeavouring to meet all the families concerned in the cases mentioned by noble Lords. He has already met Omagh and Ballymurphy families and intends to meet the Finucane family shortly-in fact, he may have met them already. He will carefully consider their views. The Government's response to the report and to other recent high-profile cases, such as Claudy and Billy Wright, demonstrates that they are taking seriously their responsibilities for the past. There is no question of their hiding from the truth.
Many speakers have mentioned the number of lives lost-the noble Baroness, Lady Royall, was one of them. We are not supposed to show exhibits in the House of Lords, but I have with me a book called Lost Lives. I can quote from it. It is nearly three inches thick. It sets out the number of deaths in the period from 11 June 1966 to the end of the Troubles-8 May 2006 is the date that the book goes to. There were 3,712 deaths. It is quite interesting to see the disposition of them. The breakdown is: civilians 2,087, police 509, Army 503, republican paramilitaries 395, loyalist paramilitaries 167 and undefined 59. Those are the numbers, but the remarkable thing about looking at the book is that from 11 June 1966 to the date of Bloody Sunday, 30 January 1972, there were 242 deaths. That is enough. There were 13 deaths at Bloody Sunday, but the balance between 256 and 3,712 is since bloody Sunday. We will not know and we cannot rewrite these things, but had it not been for Bloody Sunday, could it be that there would have been somewhat fewer than 3,400 deaths since? That is an important point.
We all pay tribute to the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Eames, for his work with Denis Bradley particularly, and the work that he has done over many years in Northern Ireland ministering to the people and playing such a special role there. As one of the earlier speakers said, setting the tone was very important. He mentioned open-ended inquiries, but it is a matter of finding a way to replace the open-ended inquiry. He raised the problems of such inquiries and mentioned the possibility, as he did in his paper, of a legacy commission or truth and reconciliation commission. He also mentioned getting the people at Stormont to agree. That is something that many people have been addressing in terms of the Government here. Much is made of pursuing things that are the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Government. Some things are joint matters but many things are now their responsibility.
At first, I did not understand the entry into our ranks of the right reverend prelate the Bishop of Bath and Wells, but we soon found out. Marriage brought him an interest in Northern Ireland, with his wife from Omagh. He also referred to the HET, peace and Martin Niemöller in Northern Ireland, showing the interest of the church in what has gone on in that place.
The noble Lord, Lord Dubs, was the first noble Lord to raise Widgery and then relate that to the position of Saville and the change. For many people, that is why we are here. We had to have the Saville report because of the Widgery report. That link is important because Widgery was quick and cheap, but it did not do the job. It was because of the concern that that job was not done properly that we are here having this debate today, following a report published earlier in the year.
Reference was made by the noble Baroness, Lady Crawley, to money. There is of course the police reserve. It is right to raise the question of resources for the police. I cannot say anything about settlements and how that is going to go-that is something for
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My noble friend Lord Smith of Clifton referred to lessons learnt by the Army in peacekeeping operations. As the Chief of General Staff said in the light of the Saville report, the ways in which the Army is trained and how it works and operates have all changed. The Armed Forces have detailed and formalised procedures to ensure that operational experience is examined and lessons are identified so that gaps are addressed, mistakes are not repeated and good practice is continued. Lessons were identified following deployments in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan. Indeed, operations in Afghanistan have benefited from lessons identified as a result of operations in Iraq.
With regard to military training for peacekeeping operations, I am advised that this is kept under regular review and tailored to the individual circumstances of each operation. Even during operations, the approach can be adapted to take account of experiences on the ground. There were and are significant differences between those internal security operations conducted in Northern Ireland and those counter-insurgency peacekeeping operations undertaken in Iraq and Afghanistan. The noble Lord, Lord Smith, mentioned the defence review, which will be announced next consideration in ensuring that we have dispensed capabilities that matched the task that we have planned to perform.
The noble Lord also raised the point about the £191 million spent on Saville and referred to what might be the budget of Derry City Council. I can say that the council's present budget is £36 million for the year. I just caution the noble Lord a little because, although £191 million is a lot, £36 million is a lot. The comparison is not the same for someone living in Londonderry/Derry as it would be for any English person, because in Northern Ireland housing and education are not devolved to councils, unlike in local government here, for example.
The noble and gallant Lord, Lord Bramall, is not in his place, but he was concerned about the Army. I can understand the old Army man speaking in that way, but the report is the report-and sadly wrong was done and it has had to go into that report.
The contribution of the noble Lord, Lord Bew, was phrased in terms of "on the one hand, on the other". I understand the historic perspective and understand his contribution in relation to where we started, before anything to do with the Saville report. But this is the dilemma of the report. It is the best effort; it is a summary and consideration of evidence, about which a view is taken. We are in a situation where one could say, "This is what somebody said to the police 38 years ago, this is what they wrote or said to Widgery, this is what they wrote or said to Saville, and they do not all quite match. Then this is what somebody else said and then there is another witness". On balance, a view is taken, which is what has been written.
One thing about the report is that it was indeed incredibly interesting to read it page by page, but eventually it got monotonous in one sense-I hate to
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I was delighted to hear the maiden speech of my noble friend Lord Macdonald. Again, he clearly had the understanding about the difference between terrorist violence on the one hand and violence perpetrated by the state on the other. It came absolutely clearly through that speech and we look forward to his future contributions.
When the noble and learned Lord, Lord Carswell, spoke, I wrote down "inquiry fatigue ... stop the inquiries" as his cause. This is the dilemma of wanting to move on, yet people are not ready to move on because, while they are not asking for multimillions, they do not feel that they have had satisfaction from some process or another. The noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, referred to the Written Answer that I sent him. What the noble Lord might not understand is that it was the third Answer that I eventually signed off. However, he mentioned-
Lord Shutt of Greetland: The noble Lord got the third one. He does not want to know about the first and second ones. Reference was made to the private all-party briefings. Those will commence; I spoke to the Secretary of State about them and he is happy to come along. We will endeavour to arrange one of those meetings before too long.
I want to say this about the contribution from the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit. He has a personal position as a victim and because his concern is about an event in Brighton it is not covered by any procedures such as the HET. There is very much a serious case. It was interesting that he followed the noble and learned Lord, Lord Carswell, with an entirely opposite view, because it was that of the victim saying, "No, I can't yet move on". I would like to find a way of moving on. I believe that there ought to be a way-I do not know what it might be-in which even the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, can eventually move on, because he feels that he has had some satisfaction. In one sense-
Lord Mawhinney: I admit to being somewhat anxious about this personalising of the contribution of my noble friend Lord Tebbit. We all know that he has a personal involvement, and a memory and experience which none of the rest of us would have wished, but can my noble friend address the policy point that my noble friend Lord Tebbit was trying to make? Rather than personalising his contribution, the policy point was: what is the basis for determining what should and should not be the subject of an inquiry?
Lord Shutt of Greetland: My Lords, it is all about tone and using the right words. I am trying my best. I do not want any hurt in terms of what the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, might feel. I used that example only because in one sense his was a personal contribution, which leads on directly to a policy point. That which is
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Lord Tebbit: Will the noble Lord allow me to explain for a moment, please? I am grateful to him. The point that I sought to make is that it seems to many of us that the Government and the previous Government were extremely anxious not to allow to be known to the general public with certainty the names of those who organised that particular attempt to murder the Prime Minister of this country.
The noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloyd of Berwick, referred to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Saville, and the tremendous work that has taken place. He could see as a lawyer himself the incredible service that a fellow lawyer had performed over 12 years. The noble Lord, Lord Davies of Stamford, made reference to costly inquiries and the concern that that cost could turn people away from an inquiry when one was needed. I have to say that the words I used were, "No more open-ended inquiries", and that is important. I was pleased to hear his own perception of the history in Northern Ireland. Much of the first of the 10 volumes is about the history. I was looking at it myself and thinking about Captain O'Neill, James Chichester-Clark and Brian Faulkner and the way in which the more liberal-with a small "l"-Lord O'Neill, as he eventually became, was replaced at Stormont. Yet at the same time in London-this is why it is important to see what was going on at the time-there was concern that somehow Northern Ireland should embrace other people. There was an effort to get other people in, but other unionist people did not want that to happen. That in itself means that I do not see the idea, which comes out in the report, that there was collusion in what happened. The London view at that time was to try to get a Stormont that was more inclusive, embracing and so forth.
I think I am at the point where I ought to call it a day in terms of this debate. To sum up: the challenge now is for us all to ensure that the past is dealt with in a sensitive manner that allows Northern Ireland, as has been said, to move forward in a genuinely shared future. We must all work to ensure that hope and reconciliation continue to overcome hatred and fear, and that those who would seek to undermine the progress that has been made will never succeed in doing so. Hope is the greatest weapon that we hold against those who peddle fear, and it was that hope that was so powerfully embodied by the recent success of Londonderry/Derry, the city by the Foyle, in being named the 2013 City of Culture. We must all acknowledge the strides forward that Northern Ireland has taken.
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In conclusion, the report from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Saville, has-to use a quote that has been adopted by the families-set the truth free.
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