Focus needed to help resolve Troubles Legacy issues

A FERMANAGH MLA has insisted that a resolution must be found to move on from Troubles legacy.

Tom Elliott stated that the “major flaws” of the Stormont House Agreement (SHA) must lead to it being rejected by all parties.

The SHA was signed on 2014 with one of its proposals was the creation of a Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) will be set up to investigate outstanding criminal killings and alleged police misconduct that occurred during, and in connection with, the Troubles.


However, the prosecution of Troubles cases in the Courts has proved controversial with the Conservative government in Westminster seeking to push through an Amnesty Bill for legacy cases through Parliament.

Elliott insists the HIU investigations have been lopsided due to the official records available to those pursuing claims against the UK state with no such documents being at hand for those wishing to proceed with cases against Republican paramilitaries.

He said: “There is a great deal of frustration with regard to legacy and how we can best move forward.

“What we must not do is resurrect the SHA. The Ulster Unionist Party was the only one of the five major parties to reject the legacy proposals contained within the SHA because we could see from the outset that they contained major flaws.

“Firstly the Stormont House Agreement proposed a parallel police force in the form of the HIU that would inevitably focus on the Army and Police due to the availability of accurate historical records, which obviously do not exist for terror gangs.

“Secondly it proposed a charge of ‘non-criminal police misconduct’ clearly indicating the target group.

“It was also proposed that the HIU would only look at some – not all – deaths. It is little short of a scandal that throughout this process the injured have been all but ignored, and attempted murder treated as being of little consequence.


“This in effect has allowed the terrorists a get out of jail free card even though they would have been responsible for the injury of over 35,000 UK citizens.

“Those who oppose the Government’s current proposals because of the Amnesty, should also oppose the Stormont House Agreement because of the Amnesty contained within it.

“What we need is an approach to legacy which is grounded in human rights. This will place the focus and the blame where they truly belong. I accept that on occasions the State and those who acted for it – the police and the army – may have overstepped the mark and should be held accountable.

“We must never forget that terrorists – loyalist and republican – were responsible for 90 per cent of Troubles related deaths. Literally thousands of human rights abuses which too many people seem to want to be conveniently forgotten about in a bid to rewrite history and place the blame on the State, the Police and the Army.”

Elliott also called for a serious examination of the Republic of Ireland’s role in the Troubles.

He added: “The Republic of Ireland’s territory was used by the IRA to import arms, store weapons and mount hundreds of cross border attacks.

“Successive Dublin Governments have shown little appetite to seriously address these issues. The reality is that the Republic played a central role in the Troubles and this needs to be both highlighted and acknowledged if we are to have a full understanding of what really happened during those dark times.”

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