THE Ulster Unionist Party has tabled a motion in the Assembly to discuss the recent television documentary on The Disappeared.
Party leader, Mike Nesbitt said: “The programme on The Disappeared, broadcast by both BBC NI and RTE, made for harrowing viewing, with its focus on the human cost of our Troubles as seen through the plight of the families of those who were “disappeared” by the IRA.
“To abduct someone, torture them, murder them and then hide their body to deny their family the comfort of a Christian burial is the total opposite of what we call civilised behaviour. It is barbaric and a denial of all Republicans claim to be, in terms of defending human rights and offering respect to all.
“You cannot retain any credibility when on the one hand, you claim to be soldiers waging war, while on the other you commit such horrendous war crimes without making those responsible amenable to the courts.
“The broadcast also exposed the repugnant attitude of Gerry Adams during his interview. His language in many parts was extremely arrogant and lacking in compassion, certainly not worthy of the statesman-like image Mr. Adams likes to project.
“The testimonies of the families, by contrast, were full of dignity and composure. Not only did they have to cope with their loved ones being abducted and murdered, but many also had to contend with the effects of the ensuing smear campaigns against their missing relatives. I hope that the renewed awareness of The Disappeared stemming from Monday night’s programme will go some way towards compelling those who have vital information to bring it forward and provide some level of comfort and closure to the families.’
UUP Justice spokesperson, Tom Elliott commented: ““The families of the disappeared continue to send out a very powerful message. Those responsible for these heinous actions only succeed in continuing to add to the pain and anguish of the families by not handing over information on the whereabouts of remains.
“This documentary highlighted just how shamefully people acted during that period of our past. It is beyond reason how any human could take part in the act of abduction, murder and secret burial, then let the families torment continue for decades.
“The responsibility of this weighs very heavily on the shoulders of those within the Republican movement who have knowledge of what happened and the whereabouts of The Disappeared.
“I am glad that the Assembly will be debating these issues in light of the recent documentary, but I am also disappointed that we can`t have this debate sooner. More importantly we are returning to an issue which should not have arisen in the first place and which should have been resolved many years ago.”
Motion: BBC/RTE Documentary on ‘The Disappeared’, which was proposed by Mike Nesbitt and seconded by Tom Elliott reads:
“That this Assembly notes the recent BBC/RTE documentary on ‘The Disappeared’ which outlined the harrowing practice of republican terrorists in abducting, killing and secretly burying people; further notes with extreme concern allegations of the involvement of the President of Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams TD, in the murder of one of these people, namely Jean McConville; stands firmly with the families of the Disappeared who have suffered greatly as a result of the actions of republican terrorists; recognises the work of the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR) in providing a mechanism whereby information can be obtained; and calls on all those with information to co-operate fully with the latest appeal from the ICLVR in the aftermath of this programme in order to bring some level of comfort to the families.”