Alliance MLA David Ford has welcomed publication of the UK Government’s consultation on legacy aspects of the Stormont House Agreement but warned vital aspects of dealing with the past are still to be resolved.
Mr Ford was speaking after the Government announced the document, entitled Addressing the Legacy of Northern Ireland’s Past, will be released for consultation until September 10 and is available at gov.uk/nio.
“I welcome the UK Government pressing ahead with the publication of this document. Victims and survivors of the Troubles are too important to have their issues kicked about and turned into point-scoring exercises,” he said.
“I am relieved there is no mention of a proposed statute of limitations for soldiers accused of unlawful killings. Such a move would not only have been contrary to the rule of law and human rights obligations, but undermined the contribution of the vast majority of those who served in Northern Ireland honourably. It also lay outside of Stormont House and would have seriously jeopardised the integrity of that Agreement.
“However, other issues of critical importance to victims need to be resolved urgently. First, the pension for those severely injured needs to be progressed through its own consultation either directly through the NIO or via the Secretary of State asking the Civil Service to initiate. Second, the NIO need to address the funding of legacy inquests, in particular on the back of the recent High Court judgement.”