The Lagan Valley MLA said,
“Much of the focus around the anniversary of the Agreement has been difficult for victims. Their story is not an inconvenience to be ignored, as it largely was in the Agreement. Just as it was in 1998, the back-slapping and self-congratulations of those who engaged in violence stands in stark contrast to the overlooked dignity of those who suffered at their hands.
There has been little real focus on the price demanded by terrorists to set down their bullets and bombs. They wanted huge concessions to stop something which never should have started and which was being steadily undermined through infiltration of the security services. The desire to make it work came as so many were so tired of the killing and the chaos.
It was the St Andrews Agreement that fixed the significant problems of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement - winning decommissioning as a requirement before Government, greater collective responsibility in the Executive and mandatory support for policing and the rule of law for those who sought elected position or ministerial office.
The events to mark the agreement should rightly recognise those who built the peace. It must not write out of history those who suffered the most and continue to hurt to this day - the victims and survivors.”