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Clear rejection of statute of limitations idea, says Farry

Alliance Deputy Leader Stephen Farry MLA has said responses to a consultation on legacy by the Northern Ireland Office shows a “clear rejection” of the idea of a statute of limitation for crimes committed during the Troubles.

The document, based on around 17,000 public responses last year, states ‘many were clear that victims, survivors and families are entitled to pursue criminal justice outcomes and such a move could risk progress towards reconciliation’.

“This publication is long overdue, and needs to be a springboard towards final agreement on a comprehensive set of arrangements to deal with the legacy of the past,” said Dr Farry.

“The Stormont House Agreement was made in 2014, and it is deeply concerning five years on, we are only at this stage. Stormont House is not perfect, no system is, but this is the only means to find a way to address the multiple demands for investigation, truth recovery, and recognition, all within the context of a process of reconciliation.

“By contrast, if this opportunity is lost, Northern Ireland will continue with a piecemeal, fragmented and ineffective status quo. Alliance is up for engaging in a constructive process to make the necessary adjustments to the detailed proposals to enable legislation to be tabled and passed, and this system to become operational as soon as possible.

“It is particularly noteworthy there has been a majority of respondents showing a clear rejection of the concept of a statute of limitations, including many coming from a service background. It is rightly recognised such an approach would undermine the contribution of all of those who served and protected the community in line with the rule of law.

“This stands in sharp contrast to the impression given in Westminster, which is danger of badly skewing the debate and undermining the process. This summary of the consultation should be used to end those destructive moves.”