Belfast Telegraph

O'Loan slams the lack of a fresh start for victims

Article: Nuala O’Loan
Article: Nuala O’Loan
Adrian Rutherford

By Adrian Rutherford

Victims of the Troubles have been forgotten again by the new political settlement, a former Police Ombudsman has claimed.

In a hard-hitting intervention, Baroness Nuala O'Loan told the DUP and Sinn Fein to stop patting themselves on the back.

She said there had been "much self-congratulation" by the British and Irish governments and the two main Stormont parties following the Fresh Start accord.

Last week's deal followed 10 weeks of intense negotiations aimed at resolving the political crisis at Stormont.

Agreements were reached on issues of paramilitarism, finance and welfare reform, but the legacy of the Troubles remains unresolved.

Baroness O'Loan, who was Police Ombudsman between 1999 and 2007, has strongly criticised the deal in an article for The Irish Catholic newspaper.

"There has been much self-congratulation by the British and Irish governments and by the two main political parties in Northern Ireland following the publication of the latest political agreement," she wrote.

"It is called A Fresh Start: The Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan. However, what has actually happened is that the people who most need a fresh start, those living with the legacy of the Troubles, have been forgotten yet again.

"There are no grounds for self-congratulation."

She added that victims, survivors and relatives "have been waiting far too long for the provision of proper services in a country which is still, in some places, fraught with tension and violent paramilitary activity".

She referred to PSNI statistics showing that, in the year to April, there were three deaths due to the security situation and 94 shootings and assaults by paramilitaries. There were 73 other shootings and 26 bombing incidents.

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