Sir Jeffrey Donaldson speaks up for innocent victims

DUP Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP attended a virtual roundtable discussion with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to outline our opposition to the Government’s proposed legacy legislation.

Mr Donaldson then held face to face meetings with representatives of innocent victims of terrorism.

Speaking after the meetings Sir Jeffrey said,

“Across Northern Ireland political leaders and communities have understandably railed against the proposal to grant an amnesty in all but name to those responsible for Troubles-related offences. For voices from across the political spectrum to unite in this way is almost unprecedented but illustrates the strength of opposition to the Government’s long-awaited announcement.

The Democratic Unionist Party has consistently opposed barriers to justice for those bereaved or maimed during the Troubles. There should be no amnesty for anyone who perpetrated wrongdoing.

We recognise that the passage of time presents evidential and prosecutorial difficulties, but the answer is not to arbitrarily remove all judicial recourse for innocent victims. Perpetrators should never be able to sleep easy in their bed.

Just as the 1998 decision to open the prison doors and limit sentences for Troubles related crimes polluted the waters of justice so too will these proposals undermine the integrity and foundations of the criminal justice system.

The best way to help Northern Ireland move further along the road to reconciliation is not to sacrifice justice. It is to apply and uphold the rule of law fairly and equally.

I have urged the Government to listen to the views of victims. Victims and their families must have a place at the heart of any process.

The Irish government is in no position to cast judgement. Dublin has spectacularly failed to deal with the legacy of republican terrorists using that state as a haven. They have also failed to cooperate with ongoing investigations.

It is thirty years since Ian Sproule was murdered in Killen near Castlederg. The detailed allegations of Garda Siochana collusion with the Provisional IRA in that murder remain. Yet despite the DUP raising this case with successive governments in the Republic of Ireland, no formal progress has been made. The Kingsmills Massacre is another example. Key documents, held by Dublin, also remain elusive.

The DUP will continue to lead calls for the Government to abandon its pursuit of an amnesty and instead focus on measures grounded in the rule of law and human rights obligations. We will continue to meet, and work with, victims and their representatives to ensure their concerns are not only heard but heeded.”

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