Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Why should we pay £12k to Troubles victims?

Secretary of State Shaun Woodward wants people in favour of the widely-criticised £12,000 recognition payment plan to write to him arguing the case for it to go ahead.

He insisted it would take a “Monty Python” style session of banging his head against a brick wall for the government to agree to it, although he could not rule out it happening.

Giving evidence to a Commons committee on the day he launched a consultation in the controversial Eames/Bradley report, Mr Woodward admitted that none of the 31 recommendations was likely to be put into action until after the next General Election.

He also told MPs the Government’s official response to the report, published in January, will not be made until the end of the year at the earliest.

But the consultation on the proposals, which will run until October, was needed because the recognition payment row meant the rest of the report had not been properly discussed.

Quizzed about his calls for those in favour of the payment to take part in the consultation when the government had already indicated it had ruled the proposal out he said: “Clearly it would be completely pointless to ask people to send me genuine representations on this issue if I had categorically said ‘no, not ever’.

“However, I have made my position very clear and the government’s position very clear that we are not minded to do so.

“There is absolutely no consensus on a recognition payment so frankly, short of a Monty Python sketch of hitting my head on a brick wall, it isn’t going to happen.”

And he indicated how he saw plans for a legacy commission developing, questioning whether it would actually be called that.

“It’s my personal view that what we may end up with is not something that is called The Legacy Commission.”

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