Beattie accuses Irish Government of ‘inaction’ over Troubles atrocities

·3-min read
UUP leader Doug Beattie (Liam McBurney/PA) (PA Wire)
UUP leader Doug Beattie (Liam McBurney/PA) (PA Wire)

Ulster Unionist leader Doug Beattie has accused the Irish government of inaction in reinvestigating Troubles crimes committed in its jurisdiction.

Mr Beattie also accused Sinn Fein of “hypocrisy” during recalled sitting of the Stormont Assembly which denounced contentious proposals by the UK Government to introduce a statute of limitations on crimes committed during the Troubles.

He voiced opposition to any move toward an amnesty.

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“We have been quite clear that the soldier, the policeman, a terrorist, a member of the public or a politician – if you break the law, then you should face the law,” he said.

“And everybody deserves the opportunity to get justice. It doesn’t mean they always will, but we cannot take away that hope.”

Mr Beattie went on to query what the Irish Government has done to deal with the past.

“As I stand here and say to the British Government ‘you’re wrong on this, your command paper is wrong’ … I can say that to the Irish Government because they have produced nothing, no command papers,” he said.

“Thousands of attacks emanated from Ireland across the border to maim and kill our citizens and they retreated back across the border, and they are not investigating.

“Where is their Historical Investigations Unit, where is their legacy investigations branch, what are they doing. The answer to nothing.”

Mr Beattie also challenged Sinn Fein over how many times their TDs had they raised legacy issues in the Dail.

“How many times have you stood up and said ‘why are you not doing more about legacy and the attacks that emanated from this soil into Northern Ireland and further afield’ – if you’re not then you’re failing as well,” he said.

“Silence is as bad as putting forward these recommendations. Putting forward nothing is as bad as putting forward these recommendations.”

Mr Beattie went on to further question Sinn Fein’s position on legacy with the link it had with the Provisional IRA which murdered hundreds of people during the Troubles.

“Mary-Lou McDonald said, only last year, that the campaign of terror was justified and yet people stand up and say they are supporting victims,” he said.

“There is a hypocrisy in this place that is absolutely astounding and it is coming from all quarters.”

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Meanwhile Ann Travers, whose sister Mary was killed by the IRA in 1984 as they attempted to killed her father – a judge, was also critical of Sinn Fein on Monday.

She accused the party of “sheer lies and hypocrisy” in their contribution to the legacy debate.

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