The Ulster Unionist Party’s Justice Spokesperson Doug Beattie MC MLA has challenged the DUP to debate on Legacy and in particular on the DUP’s continued support for the Historical Investigations Unit (HIU).
Doug Beattie MC MLA said:
“Once again I call on the DUP to withdraw its support for the Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) and challenge any DUP candidate to a debate on Legacy. The DUP’s repeated refusal to distance themselves from the HIU is deeply concerning to say the least, given that the HIU has been rejected by the Police Federation, Retired Police officers and Victims groups.
“It would be utter folly for any unionist to acquiesce in the establishment of the HIU but the reluctance of the DUP to come out publicly against it suggests that - not for the first time – a deal may have been done to buy silence.
“Despite the widespread opposition to many of the legacy proposals – particularly the HIU – which emerged from the consultation process, the NIO has indicated it is keen to press ahead, backed up by support from the Dublin Government, fuelling suspicions that a deal has been already done and that the consultation was little more than a sham.
“The Ulster Unionist Party has consistently highlighted and warned of the major flaws in the legacy process and in particular the HIU, which will be a parallel police force.
“In particular we are deeply concerned at the remit of the HIU, which will investigate every killing where the police and Army were involved – less than 10 per cent of all Troubles related deaths – and trawl through UK state files, whilst the Irish Republic hides its information. Obviously there are no equivalent records available for the terrorist groups - either republican or loyalist - who were responsible for 90 per cent of deaths, so the focus will inevitably be on the police and army.
“The HIU will not investigate the tens of thousands who were injured but it will investigate the new proposed charge of ‘non-criminal police misconduct’ which is clearly aimed at the RUC and will shamefully even target former officers who have died. This cannot be allowed to happen.
“I am therefore challenging any DUP candidate in this forthcoming election to debate the legacy issue with me. As it stands, if the DUP are returned to Westminster they will support the HIU. Ulster Unionist candidates, if returned to Westminster will not support it. A debate between our two parties will highlight the issues and give the opportunity for the DUP to change their positon before it is too late.”