Ulster Unionist Party Justice Spokesperson, Doug Beattie MC MLA, has warned the Government not to lose sight of the importance of Legacy arrangements in the midst of the fog of Brexit.
Doug Beattie MC MLA said:
“The Government must not lose sight of the importance of Legacy arrangements in the midst of the fog of Brexit. As I have stated before, Legacy is a huge issue that has cast a shadow over political life here for decades. Republicans and their allies are determined to use it to establish a process that will place the state and individual police officers and soldiers in the dock, seek to create a narrative of wrong-doing, and in the process back up the IRA’s big lie that they were fighting some kind of ‘just war’ rather than a bloody terrorist campaign.
“Successive UK Governments have somehow managed to arrive at the stage where the police and soldiers who risked their lives on a daily basis throughout the Troubles are being targeted for investigation, whilst mass murderers are being reinvented as freedom fighters and advocates for rights and equality.
“The Ulster Unionist Party remains deeply concerned at what the implications would be for former RUC officers and soldiers should the Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) come into being. It would be a parallel police force and set up to fail in the task of holding those who terrorised Northern Ireland to account. It would however be let loose on state archives, scrutinising the actions of police officers during the Troubles, whilst of course being unable to open up any equivalent records held by the terrorists responsible for 90 per cent of deaths during the Troubles.
“The original proposals also provided for the curious charge of ‘non-criminal police misconduct’, which was clearly designed to do what it says on the tin and go after the RUC and PSNI with a vengeance, in a bid to re-write history. Doubtless those who wish to bring vexatious claims against former officers will be well financed by the state via legal aid, yet there is no provision for those former officers who may be charged, and who will be left to fund their own defence.
"At the same time, we must remember that while we will investigate non-criminal misconduct charges against the police, we will not investigate cases of attempted murder as the HIU will only investigate deaths. Just let that sink in, non-criminal crimes will be, investigated while those left limbless, burned, blind and physiologically damaged will have no investigation if there was no fatality. Under these legacy arrangements the charge of attempted murder is treated as less important than a non-criminal charge.
“The Government has previously stated that its legacy mechanisms would be ‘balanced, fair, equitable and proportionate.’ If it is to deliver on that, it needs to abandon plans for the HIU as soon as possible and be prepared to defend those who defended us.”