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O’Neill briefs Victims Commissioner on legacy talks

23 February, 2018 - by Michelle O'Neill

Sinn Féin Vice President Michelle O’Neill has briefed the Victims Commissioner Judith Thompson on the progress made on Legacy matters in the recent Stormont negotiations.

“I felt it was important to speak to the Victims Commissioner today and update her on the progress made on Legacy matters because it is wrong and unhelpful for some to be dismissing this as some sort of side deal,” Michelle O’Neill said.

“I updated the Commissioner that the latest round of talks focused on three key issues including funding for Legacy Inquests, the initiation of the pre-legislative Legacy Consultation process and removal of the proposed ‘alternative approaches to the past` section incorporating a `statute of limitations’ or amnesty for State Forces.

 “I also updated the Commissioner that while progress was made concerning provisions within the draft bill, key outstanding issues remain concerning the use of the British National Security veto and the issue of adequate funding for all legacy mechanisms.

 “Sinn Féin’s focus at all times has been to secure the implementation of previous agreements and defend the rights of all victims and survivors.

 “The British Government did commit to releasing the inquest funding and to go ahead with the consultation, minus the amnesty proposal for British State Forces.

 “That represents positive progress towards the implementation of commitments from the Stormont House and Fresh Start Agreements. The British Government should never have been using victims as bargaining chips in the negotiations and they now need to implement their agreement, release the funds immediately and start the consultation.

 “Sinn Féin will continue to press for the full implementation of all agreements and to defend the rights and entitlements of all victims and survivors.”

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