Troubles bloodshed: ‘Sinn Fein and Co need to get real on Stormont House legacy deal’ says Beattie

The UUP’s justice spokesman has insisted that renewed calls for implementing the Stormont House Agreement’s legacy proposals must be resisted.

Tuesday, 1st December 2020, 6:20 pm
The aftermath of the 1987 IRA bomb massacre at Enniskillen. Relatives of those smothered under the rubble there or burned alive in La Mon, or blown to pieces on Bloody Friday will look at the attention paid to the Finucane case and conclude that some victims are more equal than others

Doug Beattie was speaking as today saw calls for the effectively-defunct deal to be revived, following the government’s decision to rule out a public inquiry into the Pat Finucane killing.

Mr Finucane, whose death has already been the subject of three separate reviews – one by John Stevens (former head of London’s Met Police), Peter Cory (a Canadian judge) and Desmond De Silva (a barrister and war crimes prosecutor).

They identified elements of collusion between members of the security forces and the UDA.

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A UDA man, Ken Barrett, was jailed in 2004 for murder.

Last night, Michelle O’Neill said: “The decision not to hold a public inquiry has wider implications for legacy matters and the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement.”

And in Stormont today, the Alliance Party’s John Blair said: “In the past 24 hours, we have had a stark reminder of Government outcomes falling far short of the needs of victims and a stark reminder that there are thousands of Troubles victims who seek truth and deserve justice...

“The UK Government must now act to honour the commitments that were made in the Stormont House Agreement to implement a comprehensive process to deal with the past in Northern Ireland.”

Mr Beattie said demands for the Stormont House Agreement plans to be put into motion “ignore reality” (namely, that many victims and victim support groups explicitly reject them).

He said: “Despite what Sinn Fein says, a huge swathe of victims don`t support the Stormont House Agreement legacy arrangements. 90% of all those killed during the Troubles were killed by terrorists, not the state.

“The Stormont House legacy arrangements effectively ignored and sidelined them and that was made very clear by the Ulster Unionist Party and in thousands of responses to the public consultation process.

“The cheerleaders for these proposals - and not just Sinn Fein - need to get real. Whilst they continue to attempt to freeze out victims of terrorism, the reality is that there will be no agreement on a way forward.”

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