Tánaiste & Minister for Justice welcome launch of 'Addressing the Legacy of Northern Ireland's Past'
Press release11 May 2018
The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney T.D., and the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan T.D., today welcomed the launch of the UK Government’s consultation on Addressing the Legacy of Northern Ireland’s Past.
Speaking in Dublin, the Tánaiste said:
"This is an important step in the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement which set out a comprehensive framework to address the legacy of Northern Ireland’s past.
"The consultation and accompanying draft legislation detail how the institutions, agreed following the Stormont House talks process in 2014, could be established in law and operate. The consultation paper seeks the views of all interested parties on the agreed institutions and how they should function."
The Tánaiste went on to say:
"Everyone is agreed that the current system is not fit for purpose and that victims and survivors and society as a whole have waited for too long for progress on dealing with the legacy of the past. The full implementation of the Stormont House Agreement will help to provide families with a way to access whatever truth and justice is possible in their case. This will be an important step in achieving a truly reconciled society in Northern Ireland.”
The Minister for Justice and Equality said:
“The Stormont House Agreement of 2014 offers the best way forward for everyone to make progress on legacy issues in Northern Ireland.
"While this consultation is about the UK legislation to establish the institutions, the Irish Government also has a part to play. I have already received Cabinet approval for legislation to support the necessary cooperation with the Historical Investigations Unit and legacy inquests and this is being drafted as a priority. I will shortly bring forward proposals for legislation to establish the Independent Commission for Information Retrieval and the scheme of that legislation will be published in order that people can have a full picture of the institution as it will be established in law.
"Addressing the needs of the victims of troubles-related violence remains a priority and these measures will underpin the Government’s full commitment to their interests."
The Tánaiste and Minister Flanagan also reiterated the Government’s support for the Lord Chief Justice’s proposals to move forward with legacy inquests, and expressed the hope that funding for these will be provided as soon as possible.
11 May 2018
Note for Editors
- In 2014, the Irish and British Governments together with the Northern Ireland Executive parties took part in 11 weeks of political talks, resulting in the Stormont House Agreement of 23 December 2014. The Stormont House Agreement covers a broad range of political, social and economic issues and includes significant and agreed proposals for dealing with the past in Northern Ireland.
- The Stormont House Agreement provided for the establishment of a suite of bodies to address some of the needs of victims and survivors:
- The Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) will take forward outstanding investigations in Northern Ireland into Troubles-related deaths.
- The Independent Commission for Information Retrieval (ICIR) will enable victims and survivors to seek and privately receive information about the Troubles-related deaths of their next of kin.
- The Oral History Archive (OHA) will provide a central place for people from all backgrounds and from throughout the UK and Ireland to share experiences and narratives related to the Troubles.
- The Implementation and Reconciliation Group (IRG) will oversee themes, archives and information recovery. It will after 5 years commission a report on themes from independent academic experts. In the context of the work of the IRG, the UK and Irish Governments will consider statements of acknowledgment and would expect others to do the same.
- Alongside the Stormont House institutions, the Northern Ireland Executive is responsible for the delivery of other promised services such as a Mental Trauma Service and pension for the severely injured.
Implementing legislation is required in Ireland to provide for the cooperation of Irish authorities with the Historical Investigations Unit (a body that will have full police powers) and with legacy inquests in Northern Ireland, and to co-establish the Independent Commission for Information Retrieval (ICIR) with the British Government.
- An overview of the cooperation of Irish authorities with the Stormont House Agreement institutions will be published next week by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Justice and Equality.