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Committee to scrutinise plans to deal with legacy of the Troubles

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Committee chair Simon Hoare

Committee chair Simon Hoare

Committee chair Simon Hoare

A Westminster committee is to examine the UK Government's proposals to address the legacy of the Troubles.

The plan, announced by the Government last month, would see the vast majority of almost 2,000 unsolved cases closed and prevented in legislation from ever being reopened.

Unresolved cases would be "swiftly" assessed by a new independent body.

Only those in which there is "new compelling evidence and a realistic prospect of a prosecution" would move to a full investigation.

It is a significant departure from the approach to legacy mapped out in the 2014 Stormont House Agreement.

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has announced it will assess the new proposals.

Committee chair Simon Hoare said: "We welcome the Government's commitment to introduce new legislation to tackle legacy issues in Northern Ireland. However, these proposals differ from those in the Stormont House Agreement, which is why they require scrutiny.

"A better system, and new institutions, are needed to tackle the legacy of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

"It is essential that the Government gets this right not only for individuals and families affected, who want to know what happened to their loved ones, but to support reconciliation in Northern Ireland for future generations, too.

"The inquiry will provide a forum for people to share their views, and the committee will do all in its power to help ensure that forthcoming legislation is balanced, fair and appropriate to the circumstances in Northern Ireland."

Among the areas the committee will assess is whether the Government's proposed approach will meet the needs of victims, survivors and their families, and what steps the Government can take to ensure that the proposed new legacy body is independent, balanced and open.

Belfast Telegraph