The Stormont House Agreement was reached in 2014 after a period of intense negotiation by the Irish and British Governments and the political parties in Northern Ireland. It has been the consistent position of the Government that the Stormont House Agreement provides a balanced and comprehensive framework to address the legacy of the Troubles and it should be implemented for the benefit of the families and in support of reconciliation in Northern Ireland.
The approach to be taken in legislation by the two Governments was the subject of extensive further discussion with the political parties in the talks that led to the Fresh Start Agreement in 2015 and in the talks at Stormont Castle in 2017. A detailed draft of UK legislation was developed, and the British Government held a public consultation on this in 2018-9. However, the legislation process stalled at tat point. The now published proposals of the British Government with respect to legacy and a statute of limitations is not something that the Government can support. We have consistently said that we are ready to engage with concerns or issues to do with the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement but any such changes must be discussed and agreed by the parties and both Governments.
It is vital that any approach is collective if it is to work, and crucially, that it meets both the needs of victims and our shared international human rights obligations.
We will continue to work for the implementation of this collectively agreed framework, in order to support wider societal reconciliation, build greater community confidence in policing and meet the legitimate needs of victims and survivors in Northern Ireland and across the island of Ireland. All recommendations, ideas and concerns with regard to the Agreement’s implementation, including those of Dr. Thomas Leahy, are valuable contributions to this debate and have been considered as we have worked for the implementation of the agreement; such contributions will continue to be of importance and value as we seek to make progress on these very sensitive issues.