Northern Ireland news

Quarter of Northern Ireland's population continue to be affected by a Troubles-related incident

Victims Commissioner Judith Thompson has described the Good Friday Agreement as a huge piece of "unfinished business". Picture by Mal McCann
John Monaghan

A QUARTER of Northern Ireland's population continue to be affected by a Troubles-related incident, new research has revealed.

The survey, conducted for the Commission for Victims and Survivors, showed that the equivalent of around 380,000 people - 26% of the population - say they or a family member continue to be affected by a conflict-related incident.

Almost three-quarters of respondents said they would support a pension for individuals severely injured by the Troubles.

The Victims Commissioner, Judith Thompson, said: "Whilst we have come a long way, as we mark the 20 years of the agreement it is incumbent on us all to finish the job and address the legacy of the conflict."

Ms Thompson described the Good Friday Agreement as a huge piece of "unfinished business".

"Unfinished business for our peace process, unfinished business not just for victims and survivors but for all of us," she said.

"We have all those issues which are desperately painful and difficult, they cause ongoing grief and anger."

Ms Thompson said that around 1,700 deaths had not been properly dealt with by the justice system.

Mechanisms to re-investigate unresolved Troubles' deaths and hold inquests have all stalled with the collapse of power-sharing at Stormont last year.

The commissioner said that legacy issues have "been kicked down the road ever since the Agreement and we have learned that it is not a can they are kicking, it is a snowball and the further you kick it down the road the bigger and more corrosive it gets."

Northern Ireland is understood to have the highest level of post-traumatic stress disorder in Europe following the Troubles.

55 voluntary and community groups exist to support those affected, with overall funding of £13 million a year.

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