Arlene Foster and Nigel Dodds have given a clue as to the DUP’s approach to tackling the legacy of the Troubles in the coming weeks.
The News Letter asked the DUP leader and deputy leader at the Belfast count early on Friday morning, when the party’s electoral success across Northern Ireland was clear, what their approach would now be to dealing with the past.
Mrs Foster said: “As you know we’ve been very concerned about the imbalance in terms of legacy and the way in which it appears, and actually it’s proven that those people who have held the line actually between terrorism and those of us who live here in Northern Ireland are the ones who are being pursued for past acts.
“I had somebody say to me just last week, those police officers who shot the jihadis in London … will they be brought to task in 30 years’ time in the fashion in which people are being brought to task in Northern Ireland, when they were protecting us in our own homes?
“It’s all very well with the benefit of hindsight but when you look at incidents like Loughgall, you have to say that those people had blown up the RUC station and were going to commit murder.
“So, those people were out there to protect us and it’s wrong, it is very wrong to pursue those people in the fashion that they’ve been pursued whilst we all know the clearance rate in terms of IRA murders is incredibly low.”
Mrs Foster added: “So, it needs to be balanced in terms of legacy and it cannot be a rewriting of the past and there must be no amnesty, we’re very clear about that.”
Mr Dodds said: “Well look, that’s all part of the discussions at Stormont and it’s part also of discussions we’ve been having at Westminster about, you know, prosecutions of soldiers and police.
“It’s a big, big issue and we’re determined that we get the right outcome on that issue and we’ll work to that end and Westminster’s a very important forum for some of these issues to be discussed.”
Mr Dodds also told the News Letter why the DUP would not support Labour under its current leader: “Under no circumstances would we consider in any way, aiding and abetting Jeremy Corbyn to advance his objectives because the man’s track record of support for terrorism, and bloodshed, and murder in Northern Ireland, and his record in terms of international terrorism is one that is just appalling and we would never support that.”