Belfast Telegraph

Beattie calls on DUP to oppose proposed new legacy unit

Critical: Doug Beattie
Critical: Doug Beattie

By Staff Reporter

The DUP has been urged to support the Ulster Unionists in opposing the creation of a new body to probe Troubles-era crimes.

Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie said the proposed Historical Investigation Unit (HIU) cannot resolve ongoing disputes around the legacy of the Troubles.

His call was echoed by June McMullin, widow of murdered RUC officer Johnny Proctor.

In a letter to the News Letter, printed on Saturday, she said the HIU plans would "insult the memory of over 300 murdered police officers".

The HIU would take over the task of re-examining 1,700 unsolved murders from the PSNI and the Police Ombudsman.

Mr Beattie said former RUC officers and the Police Federation in Northern Ireland had no confidence in the HIU plan.

"In fact, they were critical of all elements of the proposal as being unworkable and deeply biased," he said.

"The Ulster Unionist Party has been clear that it does not support the HIU, but instead believes the resources proposed for this parallel police force should be directed towards the PSNI."

He added: "I once again urge the DUP to withdraw its support for the HIU and to join the UUP in supporting the empowerment of the PSNI as the only police force in Northern Ireland."

DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said his party was not committed to any specific mechanism for probing terrorist crimes.

"There is and only ever will be one police force in Northern Ireland, but we cannot ignore realities, including court rulings that there are cases where it is not appropriate for the PSNI to investigate," he said.

"We are not wedded to any specific mechanism or structure - we simply want one that delivers the best chance of justice for victims."

Mr Donaldson said he is to meet Mr Beattie to discuss a way forward. "A more collaborative approach is needed," he said, adding: "No one should seek to play politics with victims."

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