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Dickson says legacy inquest funding welcome but process should have begun years ago

Alliance Justice spokesperson Stewart Dickson MLA has said while he welcomes the announcement of additional funding for legacy inquests, the process should have begun several years ago.

Mr Dickson was speaking after the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced new funding to deal with outstanding legacy cases over the next six years. It follows work carried out by former Justice Minister David Ford, who wanted to give additional funding for legacy inquests allocated in the Stormont House Agreement was blocked by former First Minister Arlene Foster in 2016, a move which the High Court later ruled as "unlawful and flawed".

"While it is welcome this move has finally seen the greenlight, the reality is it could and should have happened three years ago. If it had not been blocked by Arlene Foster at that point, we would now be three years into the six-year plan," said Mr Dickson.

"Those left bereaved by the Troubles still continue to suffer from the delay in holding inquests. The process now moving as quickly as possible would provide some measure of comfort for those who have waited too long to access the justice they are entitled to."

Former Justice Minister David Ford added: "My thanks go to the Lord Chief Justice and my former staff in the DOJ, whose hard work on this matter has finally come to fruition.

"The previous blocking of the additional funding was contrary to the interests of justice. I regret it has taken three years to eventually get the process moving but I hope grieving families will now finally benefit."