Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Attorney General John Larkin proposal would see Northern Ireland's past fester further: Labour

Criticised: Northern Ireland's Attorney General John Larkin QC
Criticised: Northern Ireland's Attorney General John Larkin QC

Abandoning prosecutions of Troubles-related murders would cause the wounds of Northern Ireland's past to fester even further, Labour has warned.

Shadow Northern Ireland secretary Ivan Lewis criticised Northern Ireland's Attorney General John Larkin QC, who provoked outrage after also saying he favoured ruling out further inquests and other State investigations in to the crimes committed during the 30-year conflict.

The chief legal adviser to the Executive insisted a line should be drawn under offences perpetrated before the signing of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. But Mr Lewis told Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers in the Commons: "The problem with last week's proposals from Northern Ireland's Attorney General is that they will neither deliver justice to victims or their families.

"Indeed, instead of healing the wounds of the past, they would cause them to fester even further."

Ms Villiers said the Government had no plans to follow Mr Larkin's advice, adding: "I don't think that's a viable solution."

Alliance East Belfast MP Naomi Long asked for assurances the Government would co-operate and properly resource any comprehensive process emerging from the Haass talks, adding that the PSNI should be allowed to focus its limited resources on policing the present.

Ms Villiers replied: "The determination is that Northern Ireland will not be dragged back to its past and there is universal condemnation for the disgraceful attacks we've seen in recent days."

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