HIU could ‘target soldiers and police’

Derek Hussey, UUP, Derry City & Strabane District Council
Derek Hussey, UUP, Derry City & Strabane District Council

The leader of the Ulster Unionist group on Derry City and Strabane District Council, Derek Hussey, says the proposed Historical Investigations Unit will create a ‘parallel police force’ to the PSNI.

Mr Hussey said that, while current methods of dealing with the past in Northern Ireland are imbalanced and piecemeal, the planned HIU had the potential to make things even worse.

He was speaking as he urged local people to respond to the Legacy Consultation process launched by the British Government this week.

Speaking about the HIU, he said: “It will essentially be a parallel police force under the direction of an independent director with the same powers as the PSNI in terms of arrest and investigation.

“However, it certainly appears that, as presently proposed, the HIU will target its activities against former soldiers and police officers.

“Clearly the state, police and the army all have historical operational archives and records that the HIU can freely access, whereas no equivalent files are held by the terrorist groups. As a result, the HIU focus will fall on the police and the army. Where will the necessary information to investigate those greater number of deaths perpetrated by republicans come from?”

Alderman Hussey, who represents the Derg ward on the council, said it was also a mistake to ignore the thousands of people injured during the Troubles by limiting the scope of the HIU to deaths caused.

“Castlederg has been described as the ‘most bombed small town in Northern Ireland’ but nothing is to be done about the 15,000 explosions that were caused by terrorists, exclusively the work of republican terrorists in our town,” the local representative added.