PROTESTANTS ENCOURAGED TO WORK WITH HISTORICAL ENQUIRIES TEAM

The Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Robert Saulters, has urged the Unionist and Protestant community to engage with the Historical Enquiries Team.

Speaking at an Orange Order function in Moneymore, Mr Saulters said the HET were carrying out a very important function in Northern Ireland.
He said:

“We have recently seen the debacle over the Eames-Bradley Report and their failure to understand the difference between the perpetrators and the victims of violence.

“There was also the offensive recommendation that the families of every single person who died in the Troubles should receive compensation. That recommendation made no distinction between the paramilitaries and the rest of our community.

“The Orange Order knows all about the grief caused by terrorism. More than 330 Orangemen died in the Troubles. Many of them were serving in the security forces at the time, some were going about their normal routine and some were even murdered while attending Orange meetings.

“One tenth of the people who died in the Troubles were Orangemen, so we believe we have a right to speak up on their behalf.

“Our Murdered Brethren Appeal has given us an insight into the trauma suffered by families and indeed by those who were terribly injured. Our research has shown that these families do not want blood money. They want people convicted for the murders of their loved ones and they also want to know the truth about what happened.

“Senior officers from the Grand Lodge have held very constructive talks with HET and we were impressed by their integrity and determination to report on the truth about how people who died.

“Members of the Unionist and Protestant community have been slow to engage fully with the HET and I would strongly urge them to be more positive about what they are trying to achieve and support them where possible.

“There are a number of high profile and incredibly expensive public inquiries taking place in Northern Ireland.

“HET has a very small budget in comparison to these inquiries but they have people who are determined to establish the truth about every death they investigate.

“There is a lot of talk about human rights at the moment. The families of our Orange brethren who were killed have the basic human right of knowing what happened on the day that changed their lives for ever.

“The work of HET will not bring back those who died but it will bring an understanding of the circumstances and may, in a small way, reduce the pain and suffering endured by so many families.

“We will continue to work with HET to ensure that there is a proper perspective on the history of the Troubles and I would personally encourage people in our community to do likewise.”

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