NIO’s legacy proposals flawed, says Beattie

Doug Beattie was critical of the NIO official's response to MPs
Doug Beattie was critical of the NIO official's response to MPs

Any mechanism for dealing with the legacy of Troubles violence will have “major flaws” if the 47,000 injury cases are not reinvestigated along with the 1,700 fatalities being considered, Doug Beattie has said.

The UUP MLA was commenting after a government official confirmed that the new proposals being consulted on at present will focus only on deaths.

The public consultation on proposals for the creation of four new legacy bodies, including a Historical Investigations Unit (HIU), will run until September 10.

Addressing the NI Affairs Committee at Westminster, Chris Flatt of the NIO’s legacy group confirmed that those injured during incidents which resulted in fatalities would be entitled to investigation reports as well as the families of the deceased. However, in response to a question from Labour MP Kate Hoey, he added: “It is the case that if we were to extend the work to include people who were injured were there wasn’t a fatality, we would be talking about tens of thousands of investigations.”

Mr Beattie said: “Unfortunately, the response from the NIO official accompanying the secretary of state was less than impressive and did nothing to reduce concerns about the government’s legacy proposals meeting the NIO’s own tests of being balanced, proportionate, transparent, fair and equitable.”

Mr Beattie said his party has been “highlighting the major flaws” around the HIU proposal, and added: “The inescapable fact is that the vast majority of these 47,000 injuries were caused by terrorist action, not least by the 15,000 explosions that were exclusively the work of terrorists.

“To disregard those who were injured but not killed, is to remove a huge number of terrorist crimes from the entire legacy debate.”