Belfast Telegraph

NIO has duty to publish document on past violence, says Beattie

Advice: Doug Beattie
Advice: Doug Beattie

By Mairead Holland

The Government has been urged to reveal how it plans to deal with the legacy of the Troubles before the new Prime Minister is appointed and the possible departure of the current Secretary of State.

Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie is calling for the publication of a consultation on the past.

The UUP justice spokesman said there is a "duty" on the Northern Ireland Office and Secretary of State Karen Bradley to release the findings, along with the proposed next steps.

And the UUP is calling on other parties to join it in lobbying for the document to be made public.

The consultation, which ran from May to October last year, gave the public a say on how to address the past, including meeting the needs of victims and survivors.

Mr Beattie said: "The bottom line is that there is no 'good time' to deal with sensitive issues like legacy, but we believe there is a duty on the NIO and the Secretary of State to release this consultation, and its factual contents, along with their proposed next step.

"This should be done before we have a new Prime Minister and before the almost certain departure of the current Secretary of State.

"That was our advice to Karen Bradley MP and we ask the other parties to join us in lobbying for the release of the findings of the consultation process."

He added that "any political agreement to restore Stormont between the five main political parties could well be built on sand if the legacy consultation is released after that agreement is signed".

A Government spokesperson said: "The current approach to addressing the past in Northern Ireland needs to change. The Government is committed to creating a new system that works for everyone.

"This is why we have consulted widely. We received over 17,000 responses to our consultation, and we will set out the next steps in due course."

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