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Concern expressed around progress over legacy proposals

Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O’Neill said many of the key stakeholders have not yet been consulted.

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Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O’Neill has expressed concern at the apparent lack of progress on a new legacy unit (Sinn Fein/PA)

Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O’Neill has expressed concern at the apparent lack of progress on a new legacy unit (Sinn Fein/PA)

Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O’Neill has expressed concern at the apparent lack of progress on a new legacy unit (Sinn Fein/PA)

Sinn Fein’s vice president has expressed concern over progress towards mechanisms for dealing with Northern Ireland’s troubled past.

Michelle O’Neill was speaking following a meeting with PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne on Wednesday afternoon.

In the New Decade, New Approach deal earlier this year, the British Government committed to publishing and introducing legislation around legacy proposals contained in the 2014 Stormont House Agreement within 100 days.

Those proposals include the Historical Investigations Unit, a new independent body to take forward investigations into outstanding Troubles-related deaths.

Ms O’Neill said that more than 50 days towards that deadline, she is concerned at progress.

“We are 54 days in, the Chief Constable hasn’t been consulted in terms of the legislation, key stakeholders haven’t been consulted in terms of the legislation,” she said.

“When I spoke to (Northern Ireland Secretary) Brandon Lewis last week, he couldn’t give any detail about the legislation.

“All this points to in my opinion is a failure again on behalf of the British Government to deliver a commitment which they have made very clearly, very publicly in the New Decade, New Approach.

“The document itself says the British Government will commit to bring forward legislation within 100 days, where we stand today is not good enough, where we stand today only points in one direction, that the British Government are going to fail in their commitment to deliver.

“This is victims who have been walked up to the top of the hill again and let down.

“I am not convinced by what Brandon Lewis had to say, I’ll meet with him again on Friday, I’ll be making this case very clear to him.

“I will be meeting him on Friday around some of the commitments on New Decade, New Approach along with Arlene Foster.”

A UK Government spokesman responded, saying: “The Government is focused on delivering its commitments as agreed as part of the New Decade, New Approach deal, including introducing legislation on legacy.

“Further detail will be set out shortly.”

PA