Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie has accused Sinn Fein of “either selective memory loss or utter hypocrisy” when it comes to funding for inquests into Troubles killings.
Mr Beattie made the comments after calls from Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald for the release of funding for inquests into historic deaths that happened during the Troubles.
Speaking after meetings with the PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton and the Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan on Monday, Ms McDonald said: “Some families have been waiting almost 50 years for the basic right of a proper inquest to be held and the lord chief justice has put forward a plan to clear the backlog.”
She added: “This outrageous foot-dragging is entirely unacceptable.”
Responding, Mr Beattie said: “Recent comments by the Sinn Fein leadership in relation to funding for legacy inquests indicates either selective memory lapse or utter hypocrisy.
“It is as if she (Mary Lou McDonald) wants people to believe that the present crop of outstanding legacy inquests are the only outstanding inquests.
“I wonder if Sinn Fein intends to call for funding to ensure the Ballygawley bus bombing atrocity is brought before the coroner? Or Teebane, La Mon, Claudy, Bloody Friday, and Birmingham?
“There are a whole host of atrocities that do not receive unique specialised funding and whose families deserve the truth as much as anyone that Sinn Fein selectively promote in an attempt to portray themselves as the victims’ champion instead of a long-term supporter of victim makers.”
He added: “The Sinn Fein leadership seems to have forgotten that party’s past and its role in endorsing, promoting and excusing the IRA. It also seems to have very conveniently forgotten that 90% of deaths during the Troubles were due to the actions of terrorists and two thirds of all killings were the work of the IRA. Every victim and survivor deserves truth and justice, not just a selective few that deserve promotion above the remainder.”
A Sinn Fein spokesperson said: “Sinn Fein support families from all communities who are awaiting truth and justice. Doug Beattie talks about a ‘selective memory’ – maybe he should refresh his memory as the British government signed the Stormont House Agreement almost four years ago.”