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This is a lopsided process designed to follow a single narrative where the targets will continue to be the UK security services – Beattie

Doug Beattie MC MLA said:  

“I have repeatedly made clear the concerns of the Ulster Unionist Party that the mechanisms proposed in the Stormont House Agreement will not deliver for all victims. Truth, justice and accountability is what is at stake so ramming decades of hurt into this five year investigatory process simply won’t work. 

“As has been stated during the course of the talks, ‘it’s not fit for purpose’.

“The proposed legacy mechanisms remain unbalanced and this is clearly demonstrated by the different levels of disclosure which the UK Government and Irish Government will be expected to sign up to. The UK Government will make ‘full disclosure’, pledging to make every scrap of information available to the Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) from the Ministry of Defence, MI5, police and every other branch of the security services. Only after any investigation would any of the information supplied by the UK Government and its agencies be redacted. 

“Republicans may not trust the UK Government's pledge, and although I can understand their reasons, I don`t agree with them. It will be in black and white and as such the UK Government can be held to account.

“So you would expect the same level of commitment and co-operation to apply to the Irish Government. However, this is not the case. Instead the Irish Government will be able to redact information prior to any investigation. This means that it is possible that the Irish Government and its agencies will be able to shape future investigations by withholding information. By implication, it is possible that they could inhibit bringing forward criminal charges from any investigation.

“Given that the Dublin Government are not neutral in our troubled past, withholding information can only serve to protect their part in it. The very argument Republicans make about the UK Government.

“The Dublin Government has an important role to play, as do its agencies such as the Garda and the less well known Irish Directorate of Military Intelligence. The latter whose role includes ‘the provision of security and intelligence in relation to the state and its national interests, both domestic and foreign’.

“These agencies could hold the key to a number of investigations, not least the IRA’s brutal murder campaign that took place along the border for decades and the complicit role the Irish Government and its agencies had in it.

“The Irish Government, like the UK Government, must work on a push and pull system of relaying information. If the Irish Government have information relating to a legacy terrorist act in Northern Ireland they should push it to the UK investigating bodies, not wait for it to be requested. As it stands this will not be the case, the Irish Government will only offer redacted information if requested - pull.

“These are important points which have been repeatedly made by the Ulster Unionist Party during recent talks, but so far there has been a clear unwillingness on behalf of the Dublin Government to answer questions with regard to their own intelligence services and the information which they hold. There is no point in the Irish Government running away from our concerns or continuing to be evasive - victims deserve transparency.

“The proposed mechanisms are unbalanced and a vague commitment from the Irish Government to co-operate is simply not good enough. The Kingsmill families and many others are being let down by the Irish Government who instead of dealing in black and white, with no ambiguity, they hide behind what they are now calling, 'National Security Interests'.

“Like other legacy proposals, the commitment to disclosure from the Irish Government is simply not fit for purpose. It will fuel suspicion that this is a lopsided process designed to follow a single narrative where the targets will continue to be the UK security services. 

If I can accept that Republicans are suspicious and do not trust the UK Government then they must understand why Unionists and some victims do not trust this present process, where former terrorists and those who helped establish their fiefdoms, escape investigation and prosecution and are instead applauded as peace makers.”

Ulster Unionists