Families of innocent people murdered by the IRA have been practically ignored whilst hundreds of millions are spent investigating incidents involving the security forces, according to the UUP’s Tom Elliott.
He was speaking after it was revealed on Friday that prosecutors are considering whether various charges should be brought against 18 soldiers over their involvement in Bloody Sunday.
Thirteen people were shot dead when members of the Parachute Regiment opened fire on civil rights demonstrators in Londonderry in 1972. A 14th person died later.
Mr Elliott, UUP Fermanagh and South Tyrone Westminster candidate, said: “The announcement that the PPS is considering a variety of charges against former soldiers in relation to Bloody Sunday highlights the lack of proportionality in terms of dealing with the past.
“The IRA and its supporters have tried to use Bloody Sunday as an excuse for their crimes against the people of Northern Ireland and this will continue to be used as another propaganda tool to demonise the British Army and the rest of the security forces.”
He said that hundreds of millions of pounds have been spent on an inquiry into Bloody Sunday and an ongoing police investigation employing dozens of investigators.
“Meanwhile, others such as the families of the innocent people slaughtered on the streets of Enniskillen by the Provisional IRA on Remembrance Sunday 1987 can’t get an investigation into their loved ones’ murders.
“It’s a disgrace the way the Enniskillen families and other families have been treated. People are absolutely sick to their back teeth of the way the innocent people of Enniskillen, Teebane, Bloody Friday, La Mon and others have been practically ignored. They deserve equality, they deserve respect – their loved ones had the right to life which the IRA took away.”
He added: “We have been calling for years for investigations into these IRA atrocities but little has happened. It’s as if they don’t matter. It has to end.”
On Saturday the News Letter revealed that the deaths of terrorists make up more than one-third of outstanding Troubles-related deaths which are set to be probed by inquests.
Relatives of men murdered by the IRA have been critical of the figures, with one of them – Serena Hamilton – asking simply: “How do you justify that?”
She noted that among the deaths are the eight-strong IRA gang killed by the SAS at Loughgall, the circumstances of which are already widely known.