All Political parties must sign up and fulfill the promise and potential of the Haass Talks.
Speaking during a parliamentary debate on Thursday regarding ‘on-the-runs’, I was of the view the Downey case confirmed the worst fears of victims, and further undermines their lack of confidence in the whole process of truth, justice and reconciliation.
As a member of the NI Select Affairs Committee which will scrutinise aspects of the ‘on the runs’, I think the process defied the public’s most basic expectations of openness; transparency and oversight and that the review must bring clarity into how the process was so appallingly handled.
Some have used the ‘on the runs’ debacle as an excuse to walk away from the negotiations that followed the Haass Talks, but we cannot accept or allow this shameful episode to become the reason to abandon the work that continues on from Haass.
The Downey case is not a reason to avoid dealing with the Past. If anything, it should be the very reason why we must deal with our Past. We owe that to victims and survivors, because neither respect nor sensitivity for victims and survivors has been evident in the Downey case.
All political parties must make a robust effort to engage, now more than ever. The Downey case brings into sharp focus the need for all political parties to fulfil the promise and potential of the Haass process. Walking away cannot be an option.