Trading past for the future

Operating Room''Accident and Emergency, A+E, A&E, Hospital.
Operating Room''Accident and Emergency, A+E, A&E, Hospital.

I’m one of those people referred to as a nutter because of my views on the Maze and apparently I belong to a grouping of the population who just don’t get the strides that Northern Ireland has made since the first ceasefires 20 years ago.

I may have limited power but I am entitled to express my views, just like any politician in this land.

When people elect politicians they don’t give over the ability to cease thinking for themselves. They expect politicians to listen to what they’re saying and to then represent their interests.

I have spent considerable time reading the Stormont House Agreement, examining its contents against the Haass proposals on the past.

I wonder how many politicians, minus the party big hitters who were actually directly involved in the negotiations, have done so, never mind others within the community who do not hold political office.

For me, as a former serving member of the Ulster Defence Regiment, I would summarise the agreement as a horse trade – the past for the future. It really is that simple.

The Stormont institutions were on the verge of collapse which political unionism did not want, but Sinn Fein were quite relaxed with.

Remember, Sinn Fein exists to destroy Northern Ireland, to deliver its self prophecy that Northern Ireland is a failed political entity. Do people seriously believe that Sinn Fein will contribute to making Northern Ireland an economic and political success?

Sinn Fein are confident in their own strategy. They can take or leave Stormont because they believe that their cause would be advanced through direct rule or joint authority arrangements.

Is it not the case that the price for a future in Stormont is to fudge issues to do with the past?

Is the new HIU (Historical Investigations Unit) really a criminal investigations unit, or would it be a research investigations facility to tell relatives what happened to their loved ones?

If it is the former then we are headed towards a two-tier policing model with non PSNI personnel investigating crime outside the command of the chief constable. What about disclosure of intelligence issues? All of this is music to the ears of republicans.

There has been very little public comment issued around the Stormont House Agreement.

Not surprisingly unionists have focused on the institutions, welfare reform and finances.

Whilst those issues also matter to me, my prime concern is how the past is resolved.

Where do the likes of the RUC GC Association, UDR Regimental Association, the Prison Officers’ Association, victims groups and other organisations like the Orange Order stand on the Stormont House Agreement?

These organisations were very to the fore when it came to the Maze. They also need to stand up for their memberships now and give their interpretation of the agreement reached.

The political system must never give succour to the lie that terrorists were not terrorists. For people like me and many others, peace then comes at too high a price.

Former UDR member