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Judges to hear Troubles-linked inquests

Justice minister David Ford. Picture by Hugh Russell
Lesley-Anne McKeown

INQUESTS into some of the most controversial Troubles-related killings will be heard by judges, the justice minister has confirmed.

David Ford told MLAs the move, proposed as part of the Stormont House Agreement, would relieve pressure on the system.

"By assigning judges from a higher tier to take responsibility for some of these legacy inquests it will, we trust, ensure that matters proceed speedily, more effectively and more efficiently for the benefit of those who are bereaved and who are seeking a full, proper inquest, as they would see it, for some considerable time," he said.

There are currently 53 legacy inquests relating to 86 deaths.

They include the IRA murder of 10 Protestant workmen at Kingsmill, Co Armagh in 1976; the 1971 Ballymurphy massacre, and the abduction and murder of GAA official Sean Brown 18 years ago.

An inquest probing the 1994 murder of pensioner Roseann Mallon has already been assigned to High Court Judge Mr Justice Weir but has stalled for legal reasons.

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