Here is how the BBC headlined the event.
Mrs Justice Siobhan Keegan becomes NI’s first female top judge
It would appear that this lady has been ‘fast-tracked’ to the top. She was educated at St. Clare’s Primary School and Sacred Heart Grammar School, Newry, County Down and then Queen’s University, Belfast.
She recently presided at the inquest into the killing of 10 people in an Army operation in Ballymurphy in west Belfast in 1971. To many her verdict at that inquest was faulty and showed prejudice.
I wrote an article at the time, entitled “A Suspicious Conclusion About Ballymurphy Deaths”.
Here is part of what we wrote concerning Justice Keegan’s conclusions at that inquest.
The central claim of Mrs Justice Keegan in her findings is most astonishing!
What Mrs Justice Keegan, who is a Roman Catholic Judge, said at the conclusion of her Coroner’s Court findings was: “What is very clear, is that all of the deceased in the series of inquests were entirely innocent of any wrongdoing on the day in question.”
Given the circumstances of the events in Ballymurphy on that day, surely those on the street were essentially guilty of being part of a lawless assembly? Anyone who was “entirely innocent of any wrongdoing” would have hastened from the scene of rioting and murderous disorder. Anyone who persisted in being present upon the streets when the Army was defending itself from IRA snipers firing from many positions, often from behind the ranks of the civilians on the streets, cannot be considered as being “entirely innocent”. Rather, at the very least, they were guilty of recklessly endangering their own lives. It must also be considered that they were aiding and abetting a murderous attack upon the lawful custodians of law and order.
If there was rioting, and there was and that involving hundreds, male and female and of all ages, how can the Judge say of those in the midst of the riot that they were “entirely innocent of any wrongdoing?” If included in the riotous assembly then they were no innocent victim of Army violence!
No, a blanket declaration of innocence does not fit with what was really going on that day. I feel that such a statement must be seen, at least as a naive summary of events. Some may think that it was an attempt to white-wash a pro-IRA manifestation of terrorist violence and an attempt to besmirch the British Army, so long hated by Irish Republicans.
Many may consider it not the thing to say regarding a senior judicial figure, but I will say it anyway! If I may question the impartiality of the various officers of government and even the Queen herself, I am sure I may voice concern over the partiality of any of the officers of courts!
The tone of Justice Keegan’s concluding remarks at the Ballymurphy inquest would fill me with foreboding with regards the justice that Protestants may expect in Ulster in the future. I see this appointment as but further evidence of the ‘Republicanising” of our Province.
Given how things are in the political realm where Sinn Fein is very much in the driving seat and the kowtowing we have seen some of the leaders of both the Northern Ireland Office and the Police Service of Northern Ireland engage in with regard to the IRA, as was evidenced in the display put on by it at Bobby Storey’s IRA funeral, and the total failure of the police to uphold the laws on isolation because of the Covid pandemic, that the rest of us were forced to keep.
There is growing evidence of Irish Republicanism, aided by the British Government and above all by the Ecumenical Churches with the penchant for all things Romish, being allowed to dominate every aspect of life in Northern Ireland.
For those with any knowledge of history, there is a chilling resemblance to that which our Protestant forefathers faced some 400 years ago. It has ever been the desire of Roman Catholicism to eradicate, by one means or another, every element of Protestantism from Ireland. We have seen the undermining of our spiritual heritage by the deceitful ‘pretenders’ who have taken over the pulpits of the main ‘Protestant’ denominations. We have witnessed the terror tactics of Irish Republicanism for centuries and this lives still within the ranks of the Provisional IRA, as the last 40-50 years have shown.
Here is an extract from page 84 of a wonderful little book: “History of the Irish Presbyterian Church” by Rev Thomas Hamilton, published some 160 years ago.
Peter said: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction,” 2 Peter 2:1. Underlying this clear warning from the apostle is a very important principle. ‘What has been will be’, or as Solomon put it: “The thing that hath been, it [is that] which shall be; and that which is done [is] that which shall be done: and [there is] no new [thing] under the sun,” Ecclesiastes 1:9.
The reason why history repeats itself is simple. The two main agents in the forging of history are the Lord and the devil. The Lord is completely sovereign in the affairs of men but He, in His wisdom, permits the devil to exercise a degree of influence and power amongst men which impacts upon the decisions men make and the directions nations pursue.
Thus these two forces are ever at work amongst mankind and so the character of events amongst men will be marked by the overriding desires of one or the other, neither deviating from that which is their desire and purpose.
The devil’s ambitions are set forth by the Saviour in those well known words in John 8:44. “Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
Wherever the devil’s influence is seen there you will have murder and lies.
On the other hand, the plan and will of God is the absolute opposite. “Grace [be] to you and peace from God the Father, and [from] our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father,” Galatians 1:3-4. The will and purpose of God is the outworking of atoning death of Christ upon the cross whereby sinners are saved from their sins, sanctified and made ready for glory.
Where the power of God is at work there is holiness, peace and joy.
These two streams may be traced through the annals of man’s history. Sometimes one is more prominently seen than the other. In our day, the activities of the devil are very obvious, especially here in Ulster. He is seeking to do what he failed to do in former times, like those in the late 1600s.
I repeat again, it is God’s purpose that will triumph and the devil’s which will utterly fail. I read just this morning these words. “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet [are], and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever,” Revelation 20:10. What comfort and joy this brings to the true Christian. We may thus seen the end of all things!
Ulster Protestants would be most foolish not to see a resurgence of the same spirit that almost succeeded in the days of James II, as record in the extract above. It is a resurgence not seen to the same degree since that day until this present time. There is a coming together of the various social elements within our society to aid this reinvigoration, not least of which is the dreadful spirit of complacency and indifference, bred by the preaching of false prophets, amongst Protestants.
Rev Ivan Foster (Rtd)
18th June 2021.