Speaking in response to media enquiries concerning this morning’s published interview in the Belfast Newsletter with Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) representative and Belfast City Councillor Billy Hutchinson, in which he states that the murder of two Catholics for which was convicted, “prevented a united Ireland” and that he had “no regrets”, Relatives for Justice (RFJ) issued the following statement;
“The comments were odious and no doubt hurtful causing great distress and anguish for the families. This was a case of adding insult to injury and an affront to the memory of the two men murdered, Michael Loughran and Eddie Morgan.
“Further Mr. Hutchinson seeks to somehow justify his actions by falsely making claims that the two men he murdered were connected to the IRA and in his interview regarding the UVF targeting and killing of republicans states that he always acted with ‘intelligence’. Many families will question the precise source of that intelligence given the collusion between loyalism and state forces.
“There can be no doubt that Mr. Hutchinson was well aware of the insensitivities that this particular interview would have caused and in that context one begins to wonder what his motives actually are.
“Given the heightened tensions around marches and flags, which Mr. Hutchinson is regularly at the heart of, the comments are equally dangerous and could well influence others.
“Mr. Hutchinson has very deliberately chosen to conduct himself in a manner similar to those within the British military as recently witnessed in the Panorama programme on the Military Reaction Force (MRF), a creeping culture of; ‘I’d do it again’. A culture far removed from the early days of the peace process.
“This belligerent attitude is also removed from the attitudes of most former combatants who observe an unwritten code of conduct, which is not to deliberately or intentionally offend those who were harmed during the conflict by their respective organizations.
“There are expected codes of conduct in public life. As a public representative Mr. Hutchinson must observe these standards and codes that when crossed require censure and sanction.
“The constituency that Mr. Hutchinson was co-opted to serve deserves better representation than that offered by him and no doubt there will be many within that constituency that will distance themselves from his remarks.” ENDS