Letter: Loyalist toll tells its own bleak story

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The Independent Online
Sir: As David McKittrick correctly notes (1 November), loyalists are killing more people than the IRA, in terms of civilian deaths; however, this is not a new phenomenon. According to the Belfast Independent Research Group ('Killings in Northern Ireland', Radical Statistics Newsletter, spring 1992), between 1969 and December 1990 loyalists were responsible for 764 civilian deaths; over the same period, the IRA killed 570 civilians, and the Army and RUC killed 329 members of the public.

If the RUC and the military have always maintained that the IRA is the greatest threat, it is surely because the IRA has been more of a threat to them. The IRA has killed more than 1,000 members of the British forces; loyalists have killed only 11.

As the rate of loyalist killings continues to accelerate, it is an insult to the victims and their families to maintain the fiction that the IRA is the sole cause of the conflict, with the Ulster Freedom Fighters et al playing only a secondary, reactive and less dangerous role.

Yours sincerely,

NEIL BARNET

London, SE24

1 November

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