Boris Johnson must address legacy issues before he leaves No 10, according to the chief executive of a trauma centre in Northern Ireland.
Sandra Peake from Wave Trauma Centre said “you cannot wipe the slate clean with the blood of victims” as she revealed referrals from Troubles’ victims doubled in the last 12 months, due to the Government’s legacy bill.
Over 1,200 people — 60% of which are men — are in need of support services due to being injured, suffering from unresolved trauma, and coping with dealing with events from the past.
The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill will offer immunity from prosecution to people involved in all atrocities.
It has been rejected by every party in Northern Ireland.
The Prime Minister’s resignation as Conservative leader on Thursday came after the former Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis stepped away from his role.
Ms Peake said Troubles victims will now be watching Mr Lewis’ successor, Shailesh Vara, closely.
“People are very disillusioned by the direction of travel the Government is taking,” she told the Sunday Independent.
“They feel overlooked and devalued and believe the Government is showing that victims do not matter in relation to what has been proposed.”
Ms Peake added she hopes Mr Vara will take on board the concerns of victims and survivors regarding the proposed Legacy Bill. “For many people — anyone dealing with the issue of legacy and any families who have engaged in that process — the past two years can be categorised as not being listened to, a lack of engagement and a lack of consultation,” she stated.
“As for Boris Johnson leaving, for many people a change is good, but whether there are changes remains to be seen. There is a deep lack of trust.”
The youngest client at Wave is just four-years-old – the child of a victim of the Troubles – while the oldest is 96.
“Staff have expressed concern about the number of people presenting with problems who need help,” said Ms Peake.
“That becomes stressful in itself.”
She said addressing the past is “the last roll of the dice and therefore needs to be done right”.
“Murder is being minimised, and that is detrimental to our future society,” continued Ms Peake.
“Before he goes, Boris Johnson needs to realise that what his government is proposing is grossly unfair.”