Ex RUC slam ‘sneaky’ Lambeth Palace talks on legacy, as do victims of terrorism

Behind closed doors talks on Troubles legacy issues – involving Sinn Fein and the Irish government but excluding terror victims – have been roundly condemned as “appalling” and “underhand”.

Saturday, 5th December 2020, 8:33 am
Updated Saturday, 5th December 2020, 1:43 pm
Ernie Waterworth, of the NI Retired Police Officers' Association, which represents many ex RUC officers, called the talks "sneaky"

The was widespread anger yesterday when it emerged that a ‘legacy forum’ had been meeting at the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lambeth Palace in the absence of any IRA victims, unionist elected representatives or military veterans.

No one openly opposed to the controversial legacy mechanisms within the Stormont House Agreement is thought to have been invited to participate.

Aileen Quinton, whose mother Alberta was murdered in the 1987 Enniskillen bomb, questioned the wisdom of Archbishop Justin Welby in allowing Lambeth Palace to host the talks – fearing he may have been “used”.

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Aileen Quinton, whose mother Alberta was murdered in the 1987 IRA Enniskillen Poppy Day bomb, feared Archbishop Justin Welby had been "used" and was “heartless” if he had knowingly facilitated talks that involved people with paramilitary links while excluding the victims of terror

In a social media message, Ms Quinton said the top clergyman would have be “heartless” if he had knowingly facilitated talks that involved people with paramilitary links while excluding the victims of terrorism.

Ernie Waterworth, a member of the NI Retired Police Officers’ Association speaking in a personal capacity said he was “appalled by the revelation that ‘secret’ talks have been ongoing”.

“I consider the exclusion of the most important representatives to these discussions – the innocent victims and survivors who have been so brutally injured and traumatised – totally reprehensible.

“Despite many attempting to justify this process I believe it demonstrates an extremely sneaky and underhand action on the part of the NIO and southern government.”

Kenny Donaldson of Innocent Victims United said the Stormont House legacy proposals were clearly rejected during the consultation process, and that any attempt at putting a fresh spin on them will be “taking people for fools.”

TUV leader Jim Allister said it appeared the Lambeth Palace forum is “interested only in the victim-makers,” and added: “The reality is that a Stormont and ‘peace process’ that is built on the rewarding of terrorism is never going to deliver justice to those most deserving of it.

Late last night police said: “PSNI received an invite and were represented at a ‘roundtable seminar’ organised by the Archbishop of Canterbury on November 2.”

A spokesman for the Archbishop declined to comment.

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