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Time to step up to plate for Troubles victims: Charlie Flanagan

By Staff Reporter

The current mechanisms for dealing with the legacy of the Troubles "are simply not working" and victims "justifiably feel let down", the Republic's Foreign Minister has said.

Writing in today's Belfast Telegraph, Charlie Flanagan TD said the "absence of progress is corroding confidence in the law itself".

The senior Irish politician said it was "time to implement the comprehensive mechanism agreed in December 2014" in the Stormont House Agreement.

"Three Christmases have passed and legislation to implement that agreement has yet to be finally agreed," he said.

Mr Flanagan said mechanisms that should be moved forward include a Historical Investigations Unit, charged with investigating all Troubles-related deaths.

He also urged progress to be made to improve the functioning of legacy inquests.

"The Lord Chief Justice has made some helpful proposals in this regard, which now must be actioned," he added.

Last year Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan called for funding for a five-year programme to hear 80 delayed Troubles inquests.

However, the then-First Minister Arlene Foster blocked the £10m funding needed claiming that there was an "imbalance in relation to State killings as opposed to paramilitary killings".

"It is time for all the parties to the Stormont House Agreement to step up, in the interests of all the people of Northern Ireland," added Mr Flanagan.

Meanwhile, the BBC last night published figures it said challenge claims that investigations into Troubles killings are unduly focused on those committed by the Army. The DUP claims up to 90% of the PSNI legacy investigation branch's case load is focused on killings by the Army.

The Prime Minister, Northern Ireland Secretary and unionists have also claimed there is an imbalance.

But PSNI figures show investigations into killings by the Army account for about 30% of its legacy workload.

See Comment, Page 29

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