Legacy, truth and collusion in the North of Ireland

Mark McGovern*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
167 Downloads (Pure)


The British state is currently taking forward deeply contentious legislation that would essentially end all legacy investigations and court cases relating to the conflict in the North of Ireland (1968–1998). Shaped by a long-term rightwing campaign to prevent any further investigation or prosecution of former British soldiers, and a wider culture of denial of the role of state collusion in the conflict, the legacy proposals are ostensibly defended on the grounds that current mechanisms do not work for victims’ families. This article seeks to both challenge that narrative and to build on earlier analyses of collusion (Race & Class 57, no. 2; 58, no. 3) to demonstrate how recently published reports of official investigations into collusion between state agents and loyalist paramilitaries have provided important information for victims’ families and insights into the patterns of collusion. Such patterns can be identified in terms of state actions and omissions taking place before, during and after lethal loyalist attacks. They include providing weapons and targeting intelligence while failing to provide warnings to those being targeted; the direct involvement of serving and former members of the security forces in loyalist killings; blocking investigations, destroying records and employing (and protecting) state agents and informers involved in mass murder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-89
Number of pages31
JournalRace and Class
Issue number3
Early online date7 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • collusion
  • Northern Ireland
  • policing
  • sectarianism
  • state violence
  • ‘Troubles’


Dive into the research topics of 'Legacy, truth and collusion in the North of Ireland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this