Belfast Telegraph

UUP back Troubles panel expansion

Moves to expand the police Historical Enquiries Team (HET), to improve services for the injured and to allow victims of terrorism to tell their stories, are the best way of dealing with the past, unionists say.

A delegation from the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), led by outgoing leader Sir Reg Empey, held talks with Secretary of State Owen Paterson on dealing with the legacy of the Troubles.

The UUP team said they had ruled out wide-ranging examinations of the decades of conflict, which they said would "rewrite the history of the Troubles in order to justify terrorism".

Mr Paterson had pledged to meet parties to discuss the way forward on the issue after the Eames/Bradley report was said to have failed to attract sufficient support.

Sir Reg said: "The Secretary of State and I are in agreement in very many areas on dealing with the past.

"We both believe there should be no more Saville-style inquiries, we oppose so-called 'recognition payments' for victims and we both support the work of the HET in providing answers for many victims of the Troubles.

"In our discussions we emphasised that those who are seeking a mechanism to rewrite the history of the Troubles in order to justify terrorism would bring further division to our society.

"The response of republicans to Saville again clearly demonstrated the inability of the republican movement to honestly and transparently deal with its role in our Troubles.

"The work of building a shared future in Northern Ireland would be fatally undermined by a divisive, one-sided attempt to rewrite our recent history."

The UUP leader added: "The Ulster Unionist Party is committed to supporting and expanding the HET, strengthening the provisions in place to help those who have experienced physical and mental pain from the traumatic experiences of the Troubles, and enabling victims of terrorism to tell the story of their loss."

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