Northern Ireland news

UUP calls for extension of consultation period on Troubles legacy proposals

UUP MLA Doug Beattie has called for the consultation period to be extended until October. Picture by Cliff Donaldson
John Monaghan

THE UUP has called on Secretary of State Karen Bradley to extend the consultation period on proposals for dealing with the legacy of the Troubles.

A paper was published by the Northern Ireland Office in May, with a deadline for responses of Monday September 10.

However, Upper Bann MLA Doug Beattie has urged Mrs Bradley to extend the consultation by another month.

The proposals, which include plans for four new legacy institutions, were agreed in the autumn of 2014 as part of the Stormont House agreement.

They do not include provision for a controversial statute of limitations for members of the British armed forces.

Mr Beattie, a former British soldier, said a number of victims' groups had raised concerns, saying they needed "more time to properly assess the proposals".

"Bearing in mind that a significant part of the consultation period has taken place over the summer, and that this is such an important issue, I am therefore calling on the Secretary of State and the NIO to extend the consultation period by an extra month until the 10th October," he said.

The British government has earmarked £150 million over five years to fund the new legacy mechanisms.

Once the consultation period has passed, it is anticipated that moves will begin to introduce the necessary legislation at Westminster.

Launching the paper in May, Mrs Bradley said said there was broad agreement that the current "complex system" did not work well for anybody.

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