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Party Leaders` meeting didn`t provide any solutions for innocent victims - Beattie

STATEMENT FROM ULSTER UNIONIST PARTY LEADER, DOUG BEATTIE MC MLA

PARTY LEADERS` MEETING ON LEGACY PROPOSALS

The party leaders’ meeting with the UK and Irish Governments was another robust exchange of views, but the problem with that is it didn`t move us any further on and most importantly, it didn`t provide any solutions for innocent victims. We need to look at this through a different lens.

I made clear at the meeting that we would not be supporting a statute of limitations, which has always been our consistent position because it was always going to inevitably lead to an amnesty for terrorists. The UK Government must widen their proposals to incorporate a criminal justice element or they will risk inflicting more pain on innocent victims whose families have already sacrificed so much.

The solution certainly isn`t the Stormont House Agreement legacy mechanisms which we have been consistent in our opposition to because they gave a de facto amnesty to the terrorists who blew innocent people up, leaving them with life changing injuries; they gave a de facto amnesty to the murderers who kidnapped people in Northern Ireland, dragged them across the border into the Republic of Ireland, tortured and murdered them; and they gave a de facto amnesty to IRA terrorists who murdered innocent men, women and children in Great Britain, Ireland and mainland Europe.

Any proposals which snuff out any hope of justice need to be abandoned. The Irish Government needs to do more than what they are doing now. It`s not good enough that the Irish Government comes to the table with warm smiles, but little else. Where is their command paper and what are they going to do? Thousands of attacks emanated from the Republic into Northern Ireland which killed and maimed our citizens. Until they start putting proposals on the table, they will always be letting down victims as equally as having a statute of limitations or amnesty.

It`s not good enough that Sinn Fein on one hand berates the UK Government for denying justice to victims yet in the coming weeks and months we will see their leaders eulogizing and glorifying IRA murderers who created thousands of victims and carried out some of the most horrific human rights abuses in western Europe.

We need to widen the focus, we need to widen the lens and we need to look at both governments and their part within what happened here in Northern Ireland and further afield. Until we do that we will always be failing our victims and survivors.

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