Nesbitt: HIU must probe IRA’s no-warning car bombs

Mike Nesbitt said the HIU proposals exclude 40,000 people injured during the Troubles
Mike Nesbitt said the HIU proposals exclude 40,000 people injured during the Troubles

The proposed Historical Inquiries Unit (HIU) must hold the IRA accountable for no-warning car bombs during the Troubles, a UUP MLA has said.

The Northern Ireland Office recently gave the main parties sight of their proposed consultation document on dealing with the past, including the setting up of the new bodies proposed in the Stormont House talks.

Former UUP leader Mike Nesbitt said the HIU will be a parallel police force, with the same powers of investigation and arrest as the PSNI.

However, he added that it will not be able to hold the IRA to account for thousands of injuries inflicted through its campaign of no-warning car bombs.

And the Strangford MLA said the public should insist the proposed HIU investigates Troubles-related injuries as well as deaths.

He added: “Police records suggest there were some 15,000 bombings during the Troubles, leaving many thousands with life-changing injuries, but in the cases where no one died as a result of the explosion, there will be no HIU investigation.

“So, if you went out armed to the teeth intending to cause death and destruction and ended up dead, your family are entitled to a full investigation by the HIU.

“But if you went to the shops for a newspaper and lost your legs in a no-warning bomb explosion, the HIU don’t want to know.”

Branding the situation “utterly perverse”, Mr Nesbitt continued: “Over 40,000 people were injured during the Troubles, many in bomb attacks, which were perpetrated exclusively by terrorist groups, mainly the Provisional IRA.

“Yet the NIO proposes to deal with the past in a manner that ignores the harm caused by terrorist groups.

“The NIO promised proposals that are ‘balanced, proportionate, transparent, fair and equitable’. To exclude 40,000 injured citizens is patently none of the above.”

The News Letter contacted the NIO for a comment, but we received no reply at the time of going to press.