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Addressing the Past

Part of Private Members' Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 1:45 pm on 7th November 2016.

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Photo of Paul Frew Paul Frew DUP 1:45 pm, 7th November 2016

I thank the Member for his intervention. I hear what he is saying, but this is about a holistic approach. There is detail in the motion, but it does not mention all of us working together. I am not saying for one moment that this stuff should not be done. I am not saying that this stuff should not be in our thoughts or in the motion. What I am saying is that the issue has to be moved forward with a holistic approach. Everyone must be brought along and come with us. Whilst there is a lot of good in all this, it has to be the Fresh Start Agreement. I am not too sure whether the Member wants another intervention, but would he like to explain to the House his party's settled position on the Fresh Start Agreement, the same as every other party in the House? With the agreements already sought within that agreement, we believe that that is where we need to go. It is OK to include bits of the Fresh Start Agreement in a motion, but let us take the whole Fresh Start Agreement forward. Let us try to get a resolution to these issues once and for all, and then maybe victims will get some closure.

What Northern Ireland and what victims and survivors have come through over this generation is beyond explanation. Some of our young people do not even realise the horrors that have been inflicted on our people over the past 40 years. A light must be shone on all this, and the truth must come out. Justice must be done. That is the only way in which we will ever be able to move forward with any confidence. The moment that we trade justice is when we are in big trouble, and I believe that there will be no closure for the many victims and survivors in Northern Ireland.

We stand here today determined to resolve this issue. We stand here today wanting to resolve these issues. We are happy to stand over the work that we have done to date. Can we do more? Of course we can. Every single party and every single Member in the House can do more and work harder to resolve these issues. We will not be found wanting when it comes to trying to resolve the issues. We will work hard for all the people of Northern Ireland and all the victims to whose doors terror has been brought.

We will support the security forces and their work throughout those terrible years to keep the public safe and out of harm's way. A debt of gratitude should leave the House today for the service of people in the security forces and the role that they played in keeping us all safe. That should never be forgotten. That can never be rewritten, and it is important that we acknowledge it here today.

We hope for the support of the House for our amendment.