Speaking as the Ulster Unionist Party launched its response to the NIO Legacy Consultation, Ulster Unionist Leader, Robin Swann MLA, said:
“Several weeks ago the Ulster Unionist Party called for an extension to the consultation process for the paper ‘Addressing the Legacy of Northern Ireland’s Past’.
“We did so because we considered it to be one of the most important consultation processes that has ever taken place in Northern Ireland, and its consequences will be both far-reaching and long-lasting.
“We wanted to maximise the opportunities for groups representing victims and indeed individual victims themselves and the wider community, to properly assess the proposals and make a response.
“As we stated previously, how we deal with the past has been on the agenda of political talks since before the Haass process in late 2013 and it needs to be resolved in a manner that is – to quote from the general principles of the draft bill - ‘balanced, proportionate, transparent, fair and equitable.’ It is our opinion that the draft bill which is being consulted on does not meet these tests, particularly the proposal to establish a Historical Investigations Unit. The proposals are unacceptable.
“We owe it to those who once defended us - and to future generations – to stand by them and not acquiesce in an imbalanced process that will rewrite history of The Troubles and minimise or ignore the crimes of the terrorists responsible.