The current proposals aimed a dealing with the legacy of Northern Ireland’s Troubles have been described as “structurally flawed” by Doug Beattie.
Mr Beattie, the Ulster Unionist justice spokesman, said it was now clear that the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) officials have failed to understand the “depth of issues around legacy” despite their attempts to gain political and public support for the proposals.
“The NIO’s approach seems to be to ask that political parties, and indeed the public, sign up to the legacy mechanisms and then, once in place, a process of change could take place,” he said.
“As far as the UUP is concerned, that won’t wash. The legacy proposals are structurally flawed. The proposed legacy legislation is extremely descriptive and prescriptive which would not allow for substantive change.
“They don’t address the definition of a victim; families who had received an Historical Enquiries Team (HET) review won’t be given the opportunity to have a HIU investigation; those injured during the Troubles will be ignored by legislation purely because they survived, as outlined by the Human Rights Commission; and those families whose loved ones were murdered outside Northern Ireland will not receive an investigation under the HIU.”
Mr Beattie said there has been a “deafening silence” from both the DUP and Sinn Fein on these issues.
“How can any individual or political party sign up to legislation knowing these key issues have not been dealt with.
“It is now clear that the NIO do not understand the depth of issues around legacy if their big idea is to just sign a deeply flawed bill and then attempt to fix it later. It’s an absolutely incredible stance.”