Sinn Féin - On Your Side

If the British government are serious about truth process they must acknowledge of their role in the conflict

14 May, 2004

Sinn Féin MLA Bairbre de Brún commenting on the announcement that British NIO Ministers are to visit South Africa to discuss the issue of truth and reconciliation has said that it is vital that the British government accept the need for them to acknowledge their role in creating and maintaining the conflict. As a first step in persuading nationalists and republicans of its seriousness the British government needs to initiate an inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane.

Ms de Brún said:

"Sinn Fein have made it clear that we believe it is wrong for the British government to presume to take the lead role in any consultation about a truth and reconciliation process. The British government is a protagonist in the conflict. Only an independent process with a clear international dimension can have any credibility. This has been universally recognised as an essential element in any genuine truth process.

"The British government has, at every twist and turn, attempted to frustrate the search for truth in cases involving state murder and collusion. In the Baron and Saville inquiries and the Tyrone inquests the British government is guilty of withholding information and destroying evidence and continue to refuse to establish an inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane.

"Hopefully the British government will come back from South Africa with the clear understanding that they should not attempt to assume ownership of this process and that an independent and international dimension is vital if there is to be any confidence in any process.

"If the British government want to genuinely contribute to the search for healing and closure it should initiate an inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane. It should also acknowledge its role in creating and maintaining the conflict. It is clear from every other example around the world that the process of healing can only really begin when the state acknowledges its actions.

"To date other protagonists have led the way in acknowledging their part in the conflict. Ten years on from the 1994 cessations the British State and its agents and agencies have failed to acknowledge their role in the conflict they have actively avoided all attempts by the families affected by collusion and state murder to move forward in their search for truth and closure." ENDS

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