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The Truth debate - Sinn Féin question British government 'openness'

27 August, 2004

Sinn Féin Spokesperson dealing with the issue of Truth, North Antrim MLA Philip McGuigan has expressed concern at the lack of openness from the British government in undertaking a 'consultation process' on how to proceed with addressing the issue of Truth.

Mr McGuigan said:

"When Paul Murphy announced that he was going to initiate a 'consultation process' on Truth Sinn Féin was not alone in expressing concern at the arrogance of the British government in believing that it could assume a lead role in any consultation on Truth. They can't. They are a central protagonist to the conflict and to date the British state has refused to acknowledge any role in creating and maintaining the conflict.

"However recent correspondence with Paul Murphy has deepened my concern at the approach of the British government to this issue.

"Sinn Fein knows that finding a way of dealing with the past is vital if we are to build a bridge out of conflict and begin the healing process that is central to the changes and transformation of our society and that underpin the Good Friday Agreement.

"Yet in this so-called consultation the British government are refusing to say who, if anyone, they are consulting with and who they intend to consult with in the future. If we are to have any confidence that the British government are not attempting to use a truth process as a way of abdicating their own responsibility then it is vital that they come clean and make public who they are engaging with. Openness is clearly central to the debate on truth. The refusal of the British government to demonstrate any openness reinforces concerns that they want to use this 'consultation process' for their own purposes." ENDS

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