A UUP sponsored motion in the Assembly today on the Eames/Bradley co-chaired Consultative Group on the Past seems to have provided an opportunity for the DUP and Sinn Féin to unite in criticism of the group. DUP MLA David Simpson is reported to have commented during the debate that
“One part of the group was briefing against another part of the group. In effect one part of the Eames/Bradley group sought to use the press to get its view of the Troubles and any potential amnesty into the public domain as a means of spiking internal opposition to the suggestion. As such there are serious question marks over the ability of this group to actually deliver because it is divided and because those divisions are being played out in the press over the issue of victims.”
While outside the Assembly chamber, SF MLA Jennifer McCann issued this statement
“The Consultative Group on the Past, while having genuine people with integrity in its membership was undermined from the start by being set up by the British government. I do not believe the Eames/ Bradley Group as it is called is the way forward in terms of the search for the Truth.”
Those criticisms have been made before. But I’ll note, again, that it had been suggested that when the Provisional IRA declined to meet with the Eames/Bradley group it indicated an intention to side-step Eames/Bradley and focus instead on the FOUR Victims Commissioners.. a potentially much less inquisitive group.. appointed by the First and Deputy First Ministers.The motion
That this Assembly calls on the First Minister and deputy First Minister to give their full support and co-operation to the operations of the Eames/Bradley Consultative group on the Past.
was accepted by the Assembly.