Formerly the H Blocks IRA leader, McCartney is currently Deputy Chairperson of Stormont’s Justice Committee where his 50% rule of thumb in respect of investigations is unlikely to win more than 50% backing. It is the type of problem that might reasonably be anticipated in a contrived power splitting rather than a consensual power sharing ensemble and where the call is always made for "your" past to be investigated.
In respect of the ongoing Bloody Sunday investigation McCartney called for the North’s British police service, the PSNI, to “be free to investigate these murders in the same way as they would with every other killing.”
In pretending that the PSNI is in some way independent of and external to the integrated and unified British security apparatus in the North McCartney sidesteps explaining what it is the PSNI needs to be free from. He fails to cite that a major constraint on the force’s ability to heed his suggestion is its own instinctive ideological, institutional and partisan reluctance to investigate killings by the state apparatus of which it is a fully integrated element. Something his party has yet to free it from despite the bluster about putting manners on the force.
It has been established that people shot and killed on Bloody Sunday were murdered and PSNI have a statutory duty to investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice. The decision by the High Court in Britain this morning to stop suspects being brought to the North for questioning is the latest in a long line of impediments put in the way of this investigation.
The very thing that McCartney accuses the British state of doing, both he and his party were up to their neck in replicating when former IRA chief of staff Gerry Adams was detained as a murder suspect by the PSNI investigating the abduction and homicide of Jean McConville. Then McCartney could be found doing his best to ensure the PSNI was not free to carry out its investigation. Energised by the howl of Big Bobby Tory “that they would dare touch our party leader, the leader of Irish republicanism" the deputy chair of the Justice Committee took to the streets (and Twitter) in a bid to thwart the PSNI investigation. How dare the PSNI arrest our leader: arrest somebody else’s leader.
These partisan discourses that feign to pass as a universal concern for justice illustrate just what little value reconciliation has in the North, dwarfed as it invariably is by the need for recrimination.