DUP express limited support for Nothern Ireland immunity proposal

A senior member of the Democratic Unionist Party has indicated that the party might support the idea of giving immunity to those accused of atrocities in Northern Ireland.

A senior member of the Democratic Unionist Party has indicated that the party might support the idea of giving immunity to those accused of atrocities in Northern Ireland.

Last month, Northern Ireland’s attorney general John Larkin found himself on the receiving end of criticism from the DUP after calling for a blanket end to prosecutions of those accused of taking the lives of people prior to the 1998.

His comments came ahead of the Christmas deadline set for a conclusion to the talks led by the US Diplomat Richard Hass, aimed at resolving a number of issues that Northern Ireland continues to grabble with including how to handle parades and the flying of flags over public buildings.

Outlining the circumstances under which the DUP might be prepared to consider a slight softening of their position, one of its MPs and the former finance minister Sammy Wilson explained:

“If there are some victims who say ‘there is not enough evidence to bring forward a, but we do want to find out what happened, and why it happened and even who did it’ and if one way we can find it out is by those people volunteering to come forward with information, but only if they got some form of immunity, then that is something we would be prepared to accept.”

His comments echoed those of first minister Peter Robinson, who earlier in the week indicated that whilst he was opposed to a blanket amnesty, he was not averse to some limited immunity being provided to those who come forward as part of some sort of truth process.

Meanwhile, a former Prime Minister has warned that fears among some loyalists that disputes over flags and other such issues are diluting their Brutishness represent a “phantom fear”. Speaking to the BBC during a visit to Dublin yesterday to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Downing Street Declaration outlining a road map to all-party peace talks, John Major said:

“It’s perfectly clear from the Downing Street Declaration and everything that for so long as Northern Ireland wishes to remain British, so long as the people of Northern Ireland wish to remain British, they will remain British.

“No-one is abandoning them, no-one is pushing them to one side.

“If you look at everyday life in Northern Ireland it is incomparably better than it was 20 to 25 years ago.

“Incomparably better for the people who are currently dissatisfied and for their children and for the future.”

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