Doug Beattie: The DUP should now join us in rejecting legacy proposals

The Historical Inquiries Unit do deal with legacy proposed in the 2014 agreement at Stormont House, above, is unjust and unjustifiable
The Historical Inquiries Unit do deal with legacy proposed in the 2014 agreement at Stormont House, above, is unjust and unjustifiable
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In their call for the victim commissioner to be replaced, it is clear once again that the DUP is playing catch up with Ulster Unionist policies.

It has been very clear for some time that the current victims commissioner has lost the confidence and support of a significant section of victims and the groups that represent them.

Letter to the editor

Letter to the editor

This came to a head with her tacit support for perpetrators being given the same pensions, under her proposed Victims and Survivors Pension Arrangement (VASPA), as the victims they created.

Indeed I called for her resignation on July 22 and on the same day the Ulster Unionist Party leader Robin Swann wrote to the secretary of state urging him not to reappoint her to the post.

However, the pension issue was not her only folly. By knowingly allowing an unrepentant IRA bomber to be on the victims forum while another member, who lost a child to an IRA bomb, was sitting on the same forum unaware of this fact, was inexcusable. In addition, her support for a Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) that ignores thousands of victims purely on the basis that they were not killed, shows just how out of touch the commissioner really is with the needs of victims and survivors.

We therefore welcome the fact that the DUP has now caught up with public opinion and finally reached the conclusion — which has been obvious for weeks — that Ms Thompson cannot fulfil the role of victims commissioner with any credibility.

We hope that their much lauded influence with the Conservative Party can be used to ensure there is a change of commissioner.

We now invite the DUP to reassess their support for the Stormont House legacy proposals, which those same victims groups that have lost faith in the victims commissioner, also do not support.

The Ulster Unionist Party has consistently highlighted the flaws in the Stormont House legacy arrangements, particularly in the form of the HIU.

I know that the DUP have a vested interest in the Stormont House proposals, given that they designed much of the Stormont House superstructure, but surely by now even the DUP must recognise that the HIU in particular is unjust and unjustifiable and that it is now time to withdraw their support forthwith.

Doug Beattie MC MLA, Ulster Unionist Party’s Justice spokesperson