Long asks for Government’s plans for dealing with the past

East Belfast MP Naomi Long has pushed the Secretary of State to lay out the

Government’s plans for advancing a mechanism for dealing with Northern Ireland’s past and its legacy.

Speaking during Northern Ireland Questions in the House of Commons today

(Wednesday), the Alliance MP called on Theresa Villiers to state what the

Government was planning to do to reach a deal that is transparent, while

remaining respectful to victims.

It followed two days of sessions by the Northern Ireland Affairs Select

Committee at Stormont, which saw Mrs Long and other members of the committee hear from victims’ groups among further concerned parties regarding so-called ‘on-the-runs’.

“This week we heard directly from several victims who expressed their disappointment, distrust and upset over the issue of so-called ‘on-the-runs’.

It illustrated again that creating a comprehensive process for dealing with the

past remains one of the most fundamental tasks facing us as a society. Without

resolving it, it remains difficult to make progress in many other vital areas

such as education, health and the economy.

“It is also nothing less than a moral obligation to those who have suffered

through the Troubles and beyond that we help aid the wider reconciliation of

our community. It is not about reopening old wounds or gouging at previous

areas of hurt, but rather the opposite.

“In the week it was announced there will be further talks about the past,

parades and flags, I welcome the Secretary of State’s commitment to no more

side deals, while having a balanced and accountable process. It is key we take

the opportunity to deal with these issues and events, or else they will

otherwise control and limit our future.”


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