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Sinn Féin questions right of British government to lead Truth consultation

2 April, 2004

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Truth, North Antrim MLA Philip McGuigan has questioned the right of the British government to arrogate onto itself the lead role in any consultation around truth and insisted that any such process needs to independent and international.

Mr McGuigan said:

"It is not lost on people that the British government has put an inquiry into the murder of Patrick Finucane on the long finger yet again. They have frustrated the search for truth in successive inquiries from Saville, to Baron and the Tyrone inquests. Evidence has been destroyed, lies have been told, files have been 'lost', inquests denied, injunctions granted and Public Interest Immunity Certificates issued.

"These serious failures will hardly give anyone confidence in the British government leading any consultation exercise around Truth.

"Sinn Fein believe that now is the time for the discussion on Truth to be developed. Last September we published proposals for discussion on Truth.

"We accept that there are genuine fears and doubts around the whole issue of truth and truth recovery processes. However it is clear that many victims and survivors of the conflict believe that some formal collective examination of the past is necessary for them to find closure. There are many difficulties that a truth recovery process will hold for all sections of our society as we attempt to move from conflict. Yet it is an issue that needs to be addressed.

"The best way to go forward, in fact the only way to ensure that there is likely to be any confidence in the process is for the Truth consultation process to be independent and international.

"Given the track record of the British government, of the RUC and PSNI, of the British Army and Ministry of Defence, and particularly of Special Branch, MI5 and the Force Research Unit, it is vital that the debate about how we develop a Truth process is not led or indeed narrowed by these malign forces." ENDS

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