UUP calls for loyalists to be included in legacy talks

UUP MP Tom Elliott
UUP MP Tom Elliott

The UUP has called for loyalists to be fully involved in ongoing talks about dealing with the past.

Fermanagh south Tyrone MP Tom Elliott said: “If there is going to be a round of public consultation on dealing with the past then the loyalists should be heard as part of that consultation process.”

UUP MLA Doug Beattie added that neither churches, the Orange order nor victims groups have an electoral mandate, “yet all form part of the solution for the future”.

There is no reason why those loyalists who “seek to pursue their aims through purely peaceful and lawful channels” should not be included, he added.

But Innocent Victims United spokesman Kenny Donaldson said bringing loyalists into the process to counterbalance republicans is “a 2-0 defeat for innocent victims”.

Engagement with those who engaged in terrorism can only happen where those responsible first commit to “a process of restitution for their past crimes” he added.