Alliance MLA David Ford has welcomed a High Court ruling that the former First Minister’s decision to block funding for a plan to deal with legacy inquests was “unlawful and flawed”.
Ex-Justice Minister Mr Ford was speaking after a High Court judge said Arlene Foster’s decision, that £150 million allocated as part of the Stormont House Agreement should await the outcome of an overall package dealing with all legacy issues, was wrong.
“As Minister of Justice, I worked with the Lord Chief Justice to give additional funding for legacy inquests and the justice agencies with responsibility for supporting them. However, my request for the then Executive to access Treasury funding was never tabled for Executive consideration, as the former First Minister was opposed to it,” he said.
“Today’s ruling is welcome and makes it clear Arlene Foster’s decision to refuse funding was motivated by political considerations. While the money will not deal with all inquests, it will get the ball rolling and bring many families closer to justice for their loved ones.
“Alliance has always argued the funding should go ahead, irrespective of political agreement. It is now up to the Secretary of State to work with the Department of Justice and Lord Chief Justice to get the process going, a process which should have begun over two years ago.”