Troubling lack of detail from Tories and DUP on legacy plan
The outcome of the coming general election is far from certain, given the volatility of polls in recent years.
It still seems, however, that a Conservative majority or an outcome in which the Tories are the largest party are the most likely outcomes.
The DUP, even if it loses seats, will probably still be the party from Northern Ireland with the most MPs.
It is not unreasonable therefore to assume that those two parties, Tory and DUP, will play a key role in how the legacy of the Troubles is handled. It is troubling therefore to read their recent electoral documents.
The Tory manifesto describes as “unshakable” their commitment to agreements after the Belfast Agreement. That presumably includes Stormont House, which has the legacy plan. It also goes on to pay tribute to the police and army, and to do more to give “veterans” protections.
The DUP 12 point plan reaffirmed its commitment to the planned Historical Investigations Unit, which was an appalling concession to nationalism (that the PSNI could not be trusted to do the job). It then talks about the DUP fully supporting “our soldiers and veterans”.
Fine, most of us do. Soldier trials are causing great resentment in the absence of trials of IRA leaders.
But what about the RUC? What about the police misconduct investigations, to which Doug Beattie refers on the opposite page (click on the link here to read his comments)?
What about the fierce criticisms of the Retired Police Officers or the Police Federation of the scandal that police alone, not terrorists, face such probes? What about the extensive criticisms of Stormont House in our legacy scandal series (see link below)?
Tory or unionist supporters of Stormont House might say those criticisms are wrong. Then they have a duty to explain how they are wrong, and this has never happened. Never.
The fact that ex security force leaders and IRA victims’ groups view the legacy structures with alarm, in some cases contempt, is not going to just go away once the election is past.