Alliance Deputy Leader Eileen Bell has said that the Government’s admission that it dropped on-the-run legislation at the behest of Sinn Féin must not be allowed to become a precedent.
The North Down MLA, who is also the party’s victims spokesperson, stated: “Although I am pleased that the Secretary of State recognized the leading role played by my party in scrapping this legislation, it is a potentially extremely dangerous precedent that the Government is acting at the behest of a single party.
“Certainly victims and survivors that I have spoken to would be most upset at the suggestion that Sinn Féin, which continues to view the murder of 2,000 people as legitimate, would determine the terms under which its own friends would be let off from the appalling atrocities they committed.”
Polls show clearly that the great majority of people right across the community were opposed to this legislation on the grounds that people would be set free without even facing the court in person — that was the principle reason the people opposed the legislation, and that was the principle reason we opposed the legislation. The Secretary of State should listen to the people, not to a single party which continues to try to excuse an entirely illegitimate terrorist campaign.
“The Secretary of State talks about wanting to move on, and then offends the people of Northern Ireland by suggesting that they do not. Well I suggest he get round to speaking to those who represent the people who do want to move on, and to those who recognize that compromise and consensus are the way forward, not dodgy side deals.”