MPs examine Past in Northern Ireland report proposals

16 December 2009

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee today publishes its report on the Consultative Group on the Past in Northern Ireland's report.

The Commons report concludes the Committee’s inquiry into the feasibility of implementing the proposals made in the Report of the Consultative Group on the Past in Northern Ireland.

The Commons report concludes that:

  • Northern Ireland has not yet reached a consensus on how to move on from its recent past (para 37)
  • It is not clear that Northern Ireland needs a Legacy Commission when bodies such as the Victims and Survivors Commission and the Historical Enquiries Team are already dealing in different ways with aspects of the legacy of the Troubles (paras 30 and 105, 113 and 114)
  • Healthcare services, particularly mental health services, for those affected by the Troubles are under strong pressure. Given the continuing hardship suffered by many of those affected, the First Minister and Deputy First Minister should consider creating a new fund for victims and survivors and draw up criteria for distributing the fund which win cross-community support (paras 64, 65, 81 and 85)
  • Any future Legacy Commission should be chaired, or co-chaired, by figures from Northern Ireland rather than by a foreign figurehead (para 48)
  • A Commission would need at least five years to do its work, but should be time-limited to prevent its running indefinitely (para 45)
  • The Northern Ireland Assembly, rather than the UK Government, should ultimately be responsible for decisions on how to fund a Legacy Commission - and therefore on the width of its remit (para 51)
  • Clarification is required on what role the Irish Government would play in setting up such a Commission, and in particular on what financial contribution it would be expected to make (para 54)

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