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Sinn Fein signs up for Owen Paterson's Troubles legacy initiative

By Noel McAdam

Sinn Fein has confirmed it will take part in new talks on dealing with the legacy of the Troubles - including the demands of victims.

But senior sources said the party had still to receive a formal invite from Secretary of State Owen Paterson, who is to chair the fresh initiative.

As revealed in the Belfast Telegraph earlier this week, the discussions involving all the Stormont parties are expected to get under way later this month.

They will take place three years after publication of the Eames-Bradley Report which recommended a legacy commission, but was effectively shelved.

Sinn Fein has argued it is impossible for the British Government to play an honest broker role in any truth recovery process about the past because it was also a participant.

But the party made clear it would attend the individual party meetings which follow a call from the Assembly - initiated by the Alliance Party - for round-table talks involving all the parties.

SF victims spokesperson Mitchel McLaughlin said: "We first published proposals on the need for an international independent truth recovery process over 10 years ago (and) have contributed to every initiative aimed at delivering the sort of effective process necessary.

"To date, the British Government and political unionism have run away from dealing with the legacy of the conflict. The British Government has consistently failed to acknowledge its role as a protagonist in the conflict, instead persisting in the lie that it was some sort of honest broker.

"It still denies its role in 'shoot-to-kill', collusion and the systematic abuse of detainees. Any process set up and administered by the British Government in this vein will fail to deliver what is required. It must be hoped that finally Britain has decided to end its policy of concealment and cover-up and will now embrace the need for an independent international truth commission."

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