I met yesterday with representatives of the NIO’s legacy unit to get an update as to where things stood following the consultation process which attracted over 17,000 responses.
I felt it was important to seek such an update in advance of the scheduled all-party talks and in light of comments earlier this week by the DUP’s Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP, who said that the government was likely to make ‘significant changes’ to its original proposals in response to the concerns raised on behalf of innocent victims.
NIO staff made it clear at yesterday’s meeting that no changes have been agreed by the government, no decisions have been made, and in particular that the proposed parallel police force in the shape of the Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) is still very firmly in place.
This should be the cause of great concern to anyone who is opposed to the rewriting of history and who genuinely wants to see a legacy process that is fair, impartial, balanced and proportionate — unlike the legacy proposals agreed by the DUP and Sinn Fein in the Stormont House Agreement.
I don’t know who Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has been speaking to, but it isn’t the NIO, who are in charge of the process and there is no room for complacency.
Doug Beattie MC MLA, Ulster Unionist Justice Spokesperson