Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:-
“TUV warned throughout the Haass process that Unionism would be expected to concede ground yet again. The Sinn Fein response itself verifies our warnings. While the proposals have not yet been published – and they ought to be – it seems that what was on offer when it came to parades was mandatory consultation with objectors and code of conduct straight jacket under a renamed Parades Commission. This was not going to protect parading rights or resolve the situation in North Belfast or Portadown.
“On flags Haass brought us no closer to the point where the Union Flag would be restored to its rightful place above City Hall and, indeed, above Stormont 365 days a year. Rather, further downgrading of the flag was demanded.
“But what is most worrying is what is being proposed when it comes to what the Executive parties have described as “the past”. There has been no suggestion that Haass does anything to address the perverse definition of victim which draws no distinction between innocent victims with those who made them victims. There is no suggestion that there is anything to prevent a repeat of the IRA parade in Castlederg. There is no suggestion that Haass proposes anything which would bring innocent victims any closer to obtaining justice, rather some self-serving Provo version of “truth” was on offer. Yet it seems the parties have been able to find common ground on the issue and embrace much of the rejected Eames Bradley nonsense.
“The DUP may now spin about standing tough in negotiations but the reality is that the party has publicly voiced support for “limited immunity” which is an amnesty by another name and has consistently failed to the make the key issues which concern innocent victims the centrepiece of these talks. And, let it be remembered that it was Peter Robinson, along with his buddy in government, McGuinness, who gave us Haass!
“Haass may be gone but he has left a toxic legacy, which the powers that be will seek to advance by every nefarious means. Vigilance must be our watchword.
“The DUP brought us the Unionist Forum then they brought us Haass, whose proposals it seems they wanted to endorse, but the upcoming elections restrained them. They argued that both were about addressing Unionist concerns. Both have failed to deliver anything of substance to the Unionist people.”