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Victims group's legacy plans welcomed by unionists

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Kenny Donaldson

Kenny Donaldson

Kenny Donaldson

The three unionist parties at Stormont have welcomed alternative proposals from a victims group over how to deal with the legacy of the Troubles.

Innocent Victims United (IVU), the group behind the proposals, said it wants to hear from all other political groups.

Spokesman Kenny Donaldson said the IVU family of 23 partner groups is offering a fair, balanced, realistic and affordable solution.

A key proposal is for an enhanced Legacy Investigation Branch (LIB) located within the PSNI and led by a new Deputy Chief Constable appointed from outside Northern Ireland to demonstrate transparency.

“On March 18 the UK Government through the NIO announced its proposed roadmap for the way ahead, that paves the way to amnesty, the scrubbing away of crimes committed in the context of the Troubles,” Mr Donaldson said.

“We are clear, we will not do the Government’s bidding. Last week’s proposals are unacceptable. Instead, we offer a sustainable solution. Now we want to engage with other political parties and the NIO in shaping the way forward.”

DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said the party would be discussing the new proposals with the Secretary of State today.

“For too long legacy has been imbalanced,” he said. “From the release of prisoners to the on run letters, too much has been about the perpetrator rather than the victim. We will be urging him to seriously consider the IVU blueprint.”

UUP justice spokesman Doug Beattie MLA also urged the Government to listen to what victims were saying. “We support IVU in their opposition to any form of amnesty for Troubles era crimes, and that the Legacy Investigation Branch should be enhanced and carry out all historic investigations,” he said.

TUV leader Jim Allister said practical alternatives were now on offer on behalf of innocent victims. He added: “I commend IVU for their initiative and look forward to these proposals being taken seriously and the building of a unified platform to promote them.”

Belfast Telegraph