DUP Leader addresses victims groups

09 February 2017

DUP Leader Arlene Foster tonight addressed victim groups from across Northern Ireland.

Arlene Foster MLA

Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party and First Minister of Northern Ireland

Arlene Foster

During the meeting held in Portadown she said,

"This election is about republicans trying to rewrite the past. Recently we have seen the attempts to put our soldiers and our police officers in the dock while those who maimed and murdered over the past fifty years walk free.

We stand by the Stormont House Agreement and want to see all terrorist murders properly investigated.  The new Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) will have full police powers to investigate these murders.

We believe in the following key principles and we have fought to see them enshrined in any framework.

First, there can be no re-writing of the past.

The focus on the state has been an attempt to rewrite history and blame the State while in reality the vast majority of murders were as a result of terrorist activity.

Second, there must be no question of any amnesty.  Those who broke the law must remain fearful that they have not escaped the consequences of their actions.

I campaigned against on the run amnesty legislation in 2004 under the Blair government and therefore my record on this matter is there for all to see and is entirely consistent.

Finally, victims must have a real chance of securing justice for what was done to them and their loved ones. The hope of justice must never be stripped away the families of those who have given their lives for this country.

I totally oppose the current one-sided focus on what the state did and we are campaigning with other MPs at Westminster to support army veterans who are now being targeted for prosecution.

We want to see arrangements that all move together at the same time.  There should be no question of a piecemeal approach.  As far as we are concerned all arrangements must be fair and proportionate.

We will not allow innocent victims to be pushed to one side or become a bargaining chip in any negotiations that follow the election."

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