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Northern Ireland Troubles probe 'cannot satisfy all'

A team of detectives established to probe conflict murders in Northern Ireland is incapable of meeting the needs of all victims, the Justice Minister has said.

The Historical Enquiries Team (HET) is tasked with investigating thousands of unsolved killings since the start of the Troubles.

David Ford said not all victims can expect a Saville-style inquiry into their loved one's deaths but called for more work to build reconciliation.

"The HET, as the only inquiry team that we have, is incapable of meeting the needs of all victims," he said.

"It is time that this society together engaged in the process of reconciliation and building a new way forward."

Police chief constable Matt Baggott has said he will be seeking extra resources from Stormont to enable the HET to progress its work.

Mr Baggott said he wanted to extend the life of HET in order to tackle the volume of cases. The specialist police team was set up in 2005 to re-examine 3,269 murders from the Troubles.

It was estimated that the team would need six years to complete the task. However, work has yet to begin on more than 1,300 cases.

Lord Mark Saville last week exonerated the families of 14 people killed and more injured when paratroopers opened fire in Londonderry in 1972. His inquiry cost almost £200 million and took 12 years.

Mr Ford told the Assembly: "We will never be able to give the full process of inquiry to all those who suffered and to the relatives of all those who died and that sense of loss will not be diminished by the knowledge that others have gotten justice."

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