Belfast Telegraph

More focus needed on victims of republicans during Troubles - Brokenshire

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire has vowed to do more to investigate attacks by republicans during the Troubles, saying the current system is too focused on those killed by the state.

The DUP's Gavin Robinson (Belfast East) also accused republicans of "sheer hypocrisy" on the issue, as Mr Brokenshire pledged to take a new approach in the legacy bodies from the Stormont House Agreement.

Replying to Mr Robinson at Northern Ireland questions in the Commons, Mr Brokenshire said: "I think it's important for everyone to work together to actually move this process on.

"That is why I'm continuing to commit significant efforts and work to do just that.

"But he is right. At the moment, the system is very heavily focused on the 10% rather than the 90%, and actually the balanced, proportionate measures that I put forward will assist in changing that."

Tory Craig Whittaker (Calder Valley) urged Mr Brokenshire to be "fair, balanced, impartial and proportionate", adding there was currently a "one-sided focus on cases involving the state, where 90% of deaths in the Troubles were actually caused by terrorists?"

Mr Robinson added: "Will the secretary of state recognise the sheer hypocrisy of republicans, who seek 100% transparency on 10% of deaths in the Troubles, but offer none in return?

"Until they do, and until they offer that assurance that they will give information for the killings and murders and deaths that they were responsible for, it will be incredibly difficult to build the consensus we need."

The SDLP's Mark Durkan (Foyle), meanwhile, said Mr Brokenshire should not revisit "pejorative remarks that give offence to victims of state violence".

He added: "In relation to having a balanced approach, surely having a stronger provision in respect of thematics would be much better, because then that would not be restricted to killings, as the other measures are, and it would examine the patterns and practices of paramilitaries."

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