Ford says victims and survivors deserve urgent progress

Alliance’s David Ford has said victims and survivors deserve “urgent progress” after the Lord Chief Justice said he wanted to see progress on all legacy inquests, adding parties blocking progress should be “ashamed” they had to be called on to show maturity and courage.

Mr Ford was speaking after Sir Declan Morgan told the Victims and Survivors Forum the lack of political progress in agreeing and funding legacy inquests meant it had been in effect, a wasted year.

Former Justice Minister Mr Ford backed Sir Declan’s call for political parties to show “courage and maturity” to get progress on the matter.

“During the Stormont House talks, many Alliance proposals on dealing with the past were agreed in order to take the issue forward in a way both sensitive and inclusive of the needs and wishes of victims and survivors. However, thanks to the immaturity and unwillingness of several parties, we are still without a resolution.

“As Justice Minister, I proposed funding of legacy inquests, a plan never put to the Executive by the First and deputy First Ministers. Alliance also submitted proposals to the DUP and Sinn Fein as part of our consideration for retaking the Justice Ministry last year. Those proposals would have seen major progress on resolving outstanding issues around the legacy of the past. However, they were rejected by those two parties.

“With the dissolution of the Assembly and subsequent election, plus any potential talks process, it is likely we will see the needs of victims put on hold even longer. Those needs are far too important to be passed around like a political football. It is a matter of shame the Lord Chief Justice has had to make the speech he did today. There is a need to urgently progress a comprehensive deal on the past so victims and their loved ones can have their issues resolved.”

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