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Historical Enquiries Team's role a futile one

Published 13/03/2013

Over the past few weeks, I have seen history repeat itself before my very eyes; a journey which many have taken before and, if we don't suitably address the issues of the past in a constructive, inclusive manner, many may walk in their footsteps again.

Many ex-prisoners from the Troubles era now play active roles in the management of the peace process; many others have successful businesses, while some have vanished into almost-obscurity leading quiet family lives.

We have ex-prisoners at the seat of power in government organising the policies of the country. No one is condoning their actions of the past, but what must be recognised is that, almost to a man, they endorsed the Good Friday Agreement and the beginning of a new era in our history.

My point surrounds the actions of the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) – never mentioned in a referendum voted for by the people of this country and brought on to the scene in 2005 after the St Andrews Agreement between the four largest political parties.

The majority of those arrested have already served long prison sentences for other offences, which leads me to the question: what are we achieving by locking these old men away for a token gesture of two years?

If this is allowed to continue, where will it end? A futile, destabilising and costly process for all communities, who voted unanimously to move forward in the name of peace and prosperity.

DAVID WHITESIDE

Belfast

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