Northern Ireland news

Brokenshire: Legacy issue proposals to be made public soon

Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly (centre), flanked by party colleagues, as he addresses the media in Great Hall of Parliament Buildings, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday April 24, 2017. See PA story ULSTER Politics Talks. Photo credit should read: David Young/PA Wire.

NORTHERN Ireland secretary James Brokenshire has said proposals for new institutions to investigate the country's controversial legacy issues will soon be made public.

Mr Brokenshire said there had been progress during talks to establish devolved government at Stormont, adding they were ready to have the input of victims and survivors of the north's past.

How to investigate and resolve legacy issues has been among the most contentious issues between the political parties.

Mr Brokenshire, pictured, said: “Constructive discussions took place with all the parties on the detail of the legacy institutions set out in the Stormont House Agreement, and on the need to reform legacy inquests.

“While no-one will underestimate the challenge in addressing the legacy of the past, I do believe that the proposals are now sufficiently developed that the next step should be to publish proposals for consultation.

“That way, we can listen to the views of victims and survivors, and all those that will be most affected by the proposed new institutions.”

The DUP's defence spokesman, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, welcomed the move to put the issues out to consultation.

“We do not believe that a failure to form a government in Northern Ireland should prevent the government in this place from preceding with legislation to establish those new legacy bodies,” he said.

“I would say to the secretary of state, while Sinn Féin may have a veto over the formation of a government, it would be the ultimate irony if we allowed the party that represents the organisation that murdered more people in the Troubles than anyone else to veto the legacy bodies, the institutions that are to be established to investigate those murders.

“It's just absurd, absurd that we would even consider handing to Sinn Féin a veto over the investigation of murders that were committed by the Provisional IRA.”

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