Responding to the Secretary of State`s statement to Parliament on Wednesday addressing the legacy of Northern Ireland`s past, Ulster Unionist Party Leader, Doug Beattie MC MLA, said:
“Wednesday`s announcement reinforces the injustice which has already been dealt to victims. It`s the wrong path and will tread on the emotions of innocent victims and their families. Nobody has the right to deny them the hope that someday, finally, they might see justice being done.
“The Ulster Unionist Party has been consistent and unequivocal in its opposition to any proposals for an amnesty. That`s why we opposed the Stormont House Agreement which gave a de facto amnesty to the terrorist criminals responsible for thousands of attacks in Northern Ireland where victims survived with life changing injuries or where victims were kidnapped, tortured and murdered in the Republic of Ireland.
“We warned about this when some were championing a Statute of Limitations despite the inevitable conclusion that it would lead to an amnesty for terrorists. Those now pushing for a truth recovery process need only look at what has happened at other inquiries to understand the terrorist will not disclose the true facts. Remember the Saville Inquiry, where Martin McGuinness stated that he would never break the IRA`s code of omerta. Or the Smithwick Tribunal, where despite being given legal protection, Judge Smithwick concluded the IRA told lies about the murders of RUC Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan.
"The UK Government is demonstrating a worrying naivety in these proposals. Guaranteeing complete disclosure of government papers in return for an "expectation" others will do the same flies in the face of the evidence of past encounters. You will never get the truth from terrorists.
“There are thousands of victims’ families out there who have never had high profile inquiries into their loved ones' murders or have never even been entitled to desktop reviews. It`s not good enough. If there is new evidence, then it should be pursued.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Smithwick Tribunal Report
23.1.9 However, this brings me to my first major stumbling block in accepting that this is what in fact occurred. The former personnel of the IRA say that not even Bob Buchanan was the specific target of this operation, but rather that his car, which was known to have been occupied by RUC Officers and, on one occasion, to have been occupied by Harry Breen, was the target. I cannot accept this. The preponderance of evidence before me points to Chief Superintendent Harry Breen having been the specific target of this operation.