Jeffrey Donaldson: DUP will not agree to a legacy process that fails to focus on terrorists

IRA terrorists on the South Armagh border. Picture by Pacemaker
IRA terrorists on the South Armagh border. Picture by Pacemaker

There have been comments about the DUP’s position on legacy inquests and dealing with the past, and scaremongering that plays on the fears of victims.

The DUP will not allow a one-sided process.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson

The DUP’s position on dealing with the past is absolutely clear and it has been consistent throughout.

We will not allow a constant focus on the 10% of deaths attributed to the state and allow 90% of deaths at the hands of paramilitaries to be ignored.

The legacy inquests are overwhelmingly about what the state did and we will not be agreeing to the additional funding of such a one-sided process when republicans are blocking the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement which would shift the focus on to murders committed by the terrorists.

We will stand over the agreements that we have been part of, and central to those is the establishment of the Historical Investigations Unit.

That is the process by which terrorists can be put in the dock to stand trial for their crimes.

It is that process which can deliver justice for innocent victims and unless there is access to justice for those large group of innocent victims then there will not be progress on the wider package of measures.

It is disgraceful that some people have deliberately attempted to play on the fears of victims and who invent scare stories in order to score cheap political points.

We will not support a piecemeal approach to dealing with the past but any process must be comprehensive. That process will not allow a rewriting of the past and it will ensure access to justice for victims.

It should be noted that it has been republicans who have found themselves unable to sign up to the agreements that have been reached.

Others have suggested separating out various aspects and moving those forward independently. That will not happen however because we will not allow innocent victims to be left behind whilst there is an undue focus on the actions of the state.

Whilst others will trade on the fears of victims, the DUP will continue to stand up for their interests.

• Jeffrey Donaldson is DUP MP for Lagan Valley

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