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Villiers undermining potential for progress – Kelly

16 April, 2014 - by Gerry Kelly

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said today that the British Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, had unashamedly jumped on to a unionist agenda on the issue of the past, on policing and on welfare cuts.

“Theresa Villiers’ latest broadside at the peace process is a repudiation of the Haass/O’Sullivan proposals and has positioned the British government firmly on unionist ground,” said Gerry Kelly.

“This latest move follows what has been a consistently negative contribution by the British government throughout the Haass/O’Sullivan process. This despite the Haass/O’Sullivan proposals being endorsed by both the Irish Tánaiste and the US President.

“Her comments on the past are deeply offensive to the hundreds of victims of state killings and loyalist collusion. Many of these killings were ordered from the very top of the British establishment during the Thatcher era.

“Around 15,000 republicans were imprisoned during the course of the conflict. Only a handful of members of the British state forces were convicted during this time.

So Theresa Villiers’ claims that there has been too much focus on state killings stems from the fact that during the conflict state killings and collusion were never properly investigated.

“And the reason so many cases on state killings are now going through the courts is that families are being denied the truth about the murder of their loved ones right up until the present day.

“Ms Villiers did not stop however, at insulting victims of the conflict but she then proceeded to make contributions on policing and welfare cuts which read like a unionist manifesto.

“This continued partisan approach by Ms Villiers to the key political issues is undermining the potential for progress in the political and peace processes embodied by last week’s Irish state visit to Britain.”

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