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Troubles Legacy Interim Report: Government Response

18 January 2021

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has published the Government’s response to the Committee’s interim report on addressing the legacy of Northern Ireland’s past.

Interim report

Published on 26 October, the Interim Report scrutinised the UK Government’s proposals to address the Legacy of the Troubles set out in a Written Ministerial Statement on 18 March.

In the Report, the Committee highlighted the Government’s lack of engagement and consultation with stakeholders and called for the introduction of legislation as soon as possible.

It also expressed concern at the lack of detail on the proposals.

Chair's Comments

Simon Hoare MP, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee said:

“We are encouraged by the change in tone from the Government in its response to the Committee’s interim report, in comparison with the March statement laying new proposals to tackle Troubles legacy issues.

"The tone is now more collegiate, and we welcome the Government’s commitment to consulting stakeholders, including victims’ groups.

"The seemingly unilateral nature of the new proposals in March caused a great deal of consternation, but stakeholder buy-in is essential to supporting reconciliation in Northern Ireland. A step change in approach by the Government will undoubtedly improve trust in the process.

"We’re pleased to see that the Government has not pushed back on our other recommendations, including on ensuring any legislation tackling the Legacy of the Troubles is consistent with the six principles of the Stormont House Agreement.

"The Government’s reaffirmed recognition of the need to separate Northern Ireland legacy issues from the Overseas Operations Bill is also welcome.

"However, the Government response argues that the sensitive and highly complex nature of the issues is why they are unresolved.

"The issues are, of course, complex and sensitive, and they become more so with the passage of time.

"That state of affairs should be a driver to reach a resolution at the earliest possible opportunity, before memories have faded to the extent that there is no prospect of closure for those affected.

"We need to see a clear timetable for consultation and a timeframe in which we can expect the Government to bring forward legislation. Victims have already been waiting too long.

"We look forward to discussing this matter with the Secretary of State when we take evidence from him later this week.”

Further information

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