“If you only ask some of the questions, then you will only establish some of the truth” Mitchel McLaughlin MLA
Speaking in an Assembly debate today on ‘Dealing with the Past’ Sinn Féin Victims Spokesperson, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA (South Antrim) said that if you only ask some of the questions you will only establish some of the truth.
Mitchel McLaughlin said:
“Sinn Féin is very mindful of all of the difficulties involved in truth recovery, particularly for victims and their families and we accept that there is a requirement that all of us address the tragic human consequences of the past. However Sinn Féin rejects any attempt to create a hierarchy of victims and survivors. All victims and survivors must be treated on the basis of equality
“In the above context, a Truth Recovery process should be independent of the state, combatant groups and political parties.
“Sinn Féin would argue that if you only seek evidence from some of the protagonist groups, or if you only ask some of the questions, then you will only establish some of the truth. The establishment of an Independent International Truth Commission is the best way of taking this issue forward. Clearly the willingness of all former combatants to voluntarily participate will be greatly enhanced if the Commission is seen to be independent, to have an international dimension and to be fair and equitable.
“This would be the responsibility of the British and Irish Governments, however the critical issues of independence and credibility require that there should be maximum involvement from the United Nations or a similar international organisation in the process.
“It is for those who disagree with our proposal to bring forward better ideas. So far, none of the propositions that have been set out have addressed the issue of objectivity and independence of the process.
“An insistence that there can be a selective approach will in effect ensure that this stalemate will continue, probably indefinitely, unless there is an approach which makes no distinctions between the suffering of all victims and survivors and by extension the roles and responsibilities of allprotagonists’ in the conflict.
“British Government legislation, institutions, agencies and personnel have over a period of four decades fashioned structures, practices and procedures to ensure that the truth about its activities during the conflict is withheld from public scrutiny. So far the approach of the British Government has been to challenge, frustrate and drive up the cost of inquiries so as to make them politically unacceptable. If we are to have a credible truth recovery process this approach must change.” CRÍOCH