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Political impasse further hurts Troubles victims

LEGACY issues continue to cast a long shadow over the political landscape and beyond.

The lack of properly funded and resourced means of dealing with the past - which also enjoy broad-based support - remains one of the greatest failings of politics in Northern Ireland since the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.

All too often, the void has been filled with victims and families pursuing an unsatisfactory mix of inquests, police ombudsman investigations and other legal avenues to discover the truth about the past in their search for closure and justice.

A public consultation on proposals to set up new legacy institutions is underway, though the lack of prominence given to this exercise by the British government has already been criticised by the victims' commissioner Judith Thompson.

Two other figures involved in legacy matters voiced their concerns at the West Belfast Festival this week.

Chief constable George Hamilton said the PSNI has 45 million documents relating to the past, but does not have the necessary resources to deal with the vast amount of material.

Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire, whose office has conducted a number of investigations into disputed episodes from the past, warned that, with the passage of time, legacy issues were becoming inter-generational and more polarised.

Both highlighted how the current political vacuum was only worsening the situation.

They, and others, are entitled to ask whether MLAs - who have not sat at Stormont for well over 18 months - really take victims and legacy issues seriously.

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