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Legacy unit should 'hold IRA to account' for no warning car bombs, says UUP's Nesbitt

The proposed Historical Inquiries Unit (HIU) must hold the IRA to account for no warning car bombs, according to a Unionist MLA.

Mike Nesbitt has said the HIU should investigate Troubles related injuries as well as deaths.

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) last week gave the main parties sight of their proposed consultation document on dealing with the past, including the setting up of the new bodies proposed in the Stormont House talks.

As proposed, the HIU will be a parallel police force, with the same powers of investigation and arrest as the PSNI.

However, it will not be able to hold the IRA to account for thousands of injuries inflicted through its campaign of no warning car bombs.

The former Ulster Unionist leader said: “Police records suggest there were some 15,000 bombings during the Troubles, leaving many thousands with life changing injuries, but in the cases where no one died as a result of the explosion, there will be no HIU investigation.

“So, if you went out armed to the teeth intending to cause death and destruction and ended up dead, your family are entitled to a full investigation by the HIU. But if you went to the shops for a newspaper and lost your legs in a no warning bomb explosion, the HIU don’t want to know.

“This is utterly perverse. The IRA and the other terrorist organisations must be held fully to account for their actions, which have resulted in so many of our fellow citizens being denied their rights in education, employment and social inclusion.”

Mr Nesbitt urged the public to demand answers on why bombings attributed to terrorists will not be part of legacy investigations.

He added: “Why are those left with life shattering injuries not seen as deserving of investigation? These are civilians, soldiers, policemen and police women. What about those subject to tarring and feathering, punishment shootings and beatings or those driven out of the country? How about the women who were victims of Troubles related sex crimes or those who went to an early grave traumatised as a direct result of the Troubles?

“The NIO promised proposals that are ‘balanced, proportionate, transparent, fair and equitable’. To exclude 40,000 injured citizens is patently none of the above.”

The NIO has been contacted for comment.

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