Northern Ireland Affairs Committee

Consultation on Stormont House Agreement inquiry

Inquiry status: open

Inquiry launched on Thursday 24 May. The deadline for written submissions was Friday 15 June 2018.

Scope of the inquiry

On the 11th May 2018, the Northern Ireland Office launched a public consultation on proposals to address the legacy of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The Consultation puts forward proposals for four new legacy institutions, which were originally proposed in the Stormont House Agreement of 2014. These are as follows:

  • a new independent Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) to take forward investigations into outstanding deaths from the Troubles;
  • a new Independent Commission on Information Retrieval (ICIR) to enable victims and survivors to obtain privately information about Troubles-related deaths of next of kin;
  • an Implementation and Reconciliation Group (IRG) to promote reconciliation and assess the implementation of the other legacy institutions through production of a report; and
  • an Oral History Archive (OHA) to enable people from all backgrounds to share experiences and narratives related to the Troubles.
    The Government has also published a draft Bill, which would establish the four new legacy institutions.

The Stormont House Agreement contained a number of proposals about dealing with the legacy of the past in Northern Ireland which were never implemented. The Government has said it believes implementing the legacy institutions is the best way to meet the needs of victims and survivors. The Northern Ireland Office has excluded the following elements of the Stormont House Agreement from the remit of the public consultation: making sure victims and survivors can access high quality services; making sure people can access advocate-counsellor assistance; setting up a Mental Trauma Service; finding a way to support severely physically injured victims in Northern Ireland through a pension and making sure that inquests have better outcomes for victims and survivors and continue to meet human rights responsibilities. The Northern Ireland Office has stated these areas are excluded from the public consultation because they will be carried out by the Northern Ireland Executive.

The Committee’s inquiry is intended to examine the scope of the consultation to ensure it meets the needs of victims and survivors. We will look at resources, the implementation timetable, stakeholder engagement and remit of the consultation to make sure it is being carried out effectively. Stakeholders are encouraged to engage with the NIO’s consultation, and the Committee’s inquiry offers an additional avenue for comment, which we plan to feed into the Government’s consultation.

Terms of Reference

  • How well do the proposals for the Historical Investigations Unit, the Independent Commission on Information Retrieval and the Oral History Archive meet the needs of victims and survivors?
    o Do the proposals address concerns about current arrangements for the investigation of Troubles-related deaths?
  • How effectively do the proposals for the Implementation and Reconciliation Group provide for the promotion of reconciliation in Northern Ireland?
  • To what extent do the proposals reflect a broad political consensus, and are fair, equitable, and proportionate?
  • How can the Government best engage with those affected by the Troubles and ensure they hear their views?
  • Are there any areas where the proposals do not adequately reflect the rule of law?
  • Are there any areas of the Stormont House Agreement which the proposals fail to address?
  • Are there areas that have been included that should not have been?
  • Should the UK Government consider implementing the areas of the Stormont House Agreement which are the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Executive?
    o Such as; pensions for severely injured victims of the Troubles and a Mental Trauma Service?
  • Has the Government committed sufficient resources to support the operation of the Stormont House Agreement institutions?
  • How should these proposals now be taken forward?
    o What should the timing of the proposals be?

 

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