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Heated exchanges as UUP's Beattie hits out at BBC presenter's 'whataboutery' claims in Pat Finucane discussion


Doug Beattie

Doug Beattie


Doug Beattie

A UUP MLA branded as "disgraceful" a BBC presenter calling out his "whataboutery" during a heated exchange on BBC Radio Ulster.

Good Morning Ulster dedicated a significant proportion of Tuesday's programme to the decision by the UK Government not to hold an inquiry into the UDA murder of Pat Finucane.

Upper Bann MLA Doug Beattie described the murder of the prominent solicitor as "horrific and brutal" saying it should be condemned by all.

"And of course the family do deserve truth and justice and I suppose this is a timely reminder we have hundreds, if not thousands, of victims out there who are waiting for truth and justice," he told Good Morning Ulster.

"And we politicians in NI have failed our victims. The Westminster government has failed our victims. The Irish Government has failed our victims.

"And until we can sit down and come up with a legacy mechanism that is victim-centred this is going to go on forever. So we really need to get to grips as to how we go about dealing with legacy.

"Dealing with it one public inquiry at a time is never going to work."

The former soldier said no one could welcome the decision by the UK Government to withhold an inquiry.

"But there are thousands of victims out there." he added, highlighting killings carried out by the IRA.

"What about the murders of Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan - two [RUC] inspectors where there was collusion with the Irish Government?

"What about the murders of [lawyer] Edgar Graham, Justice Maurice Gib and his wife? What about William Doyle judge or judge William Staunton what about the Disappeared, what about Kingsmill?

"Do we not give them a public inquiry?"

Presenter Chris Buckler intervened to point out there was a lot of "whataboutery" coming from the MLA.

"Me mentioning victims and you call it whataboutery is pretty disgraceful," Mr Beattie hit back saying he did not accept the remarks.

He said he was talking about "all victims" and how they had been failed.

Broadcaster Mr Buckler responded: "All victims are perfectly entitled to be in a position where they have their right to make their say. And whenever this case is mentioned you immediately talk about others.

"Why not talk about this case?"

Mr Beattie added: "It is not whataboutery to say everyone deserves truth and justice. It is not whataboutery to say that we can not elevate one above the other.

"Who doesn't get an inquiry? Which victim do we go to and say 'it's ok you don't deserve an inquiry'.

Mr Buckler later addressed some of the criticism directed at the programme saying the exchanges had prompted a lot of comments.

He read out a tweet from UUP leader Steve Aiken who described the standard of the programme over recent days as "shocking" and "accusing Doug Beattie of all people of 'whataboutery' is pathetic".

Another tweet was read out pointing out Mr Beattie "literally said 'whatabout' several times".

The BBC was asked for a comment but said it had nothing to add.

Belfast Telegraph