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Long hits out at Sinn Féin claims

Alliance Leader Naomi Long MLA has hit out at Sinn Féin after the party claimed the UK Government was the "main protagonists" in the Troubles.

"This is a huge distortion of the truth of the Troubles. While Alliance has always been clear those in the armed forces who committed illegal killings should face justice, we also believe to suggest the UK Government was the main protagonist of the conflict is an attempt to whitewash republican terrorism from the picture," she said.

"There is no doubt the manner in which Northern Ireland was governed leading up to the outbreak of the Troubles fuelled division, along with the agitating from many side, but the Civil Rights movement challenged that with peaceful protests - violence was never inevitable or justified. Many people in the same situations rejected joining paramilitary groups and joined Alliance and other political parties to help achieve change.

"Alliance will work with all those committed to peaceful means and who have left violence behind to try and build a better future for all our community. However, that does not mean we will allow any side to rewrite history unchallenged. To do so only compounds the hurt of victims and survivors, and makes the chances of true reconciliation more difficult."