Belfast Telegraph

Arlene Foster blasts bias of republican calls for 'full disclosure'

By Allan Preston

Arlene Foster has slammed republican leaders, claiming they are "attempting to rewrite the history of terrorism".

The First Minister made the comments after the Northern Ireland Office said it won't be handing out any new funding for investigating crimes of the past.

Mrs Foster had called for extra money for legacy investigations, such as those into the army agent known as Stakeknife.

But she said republicans were asking for too much focus to be placed on the role of security forces, while ignoring the actions of paramilitary gangs.

She added it was unreasonable to expect the Government to fully disclose all its actions during the Troubles when "terrorists will not provide even partial disclosure about their activities".

She added: "It would place a near complete focus on 10% of the deaths during the Troubles, whilst the 90% of murders carried out by various illegal terrorist gangs are virtually ignored. Such a blatant attempt to rewrite history should be obvious for anyone to see."

"The demand by republicans to have full disclosure from the government is a completely unreasonable one," she said. "But it has a clear and obvious political purpose. It is simply not credible to consider that any sovereign government would hand over decisions about its national security to a third party."

Meanwhile, Alex Attwood, the SDLP MLA for west Belfast, said funding for investigating crimes of the past in Northern Ireland should be "non-negotiable".

He also fears the truth for victims of the Troubles is slipping away as the Government and paramilitary groups are resisting telling the whole story.

"The London government must guarantee the funds, not only for the Stakeknife investigation, but also for inquests and other legacy needs," he said.

"Stakeknife is about an army/MI5 agent in the IRA, multiple killings and counter-insurgency. This makes London's obligations even more self-evident."

The Stakeknife inquiry is expected to cost up to £35m. It centres around an army double agent placed at the heart of the Provisional IRA who is believed to have executed up to 24 people. West Belfast man Freddie Scappaticci has strongly denied being the man behind the codename.

Belfast Telegraph


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