Thursday, 7 February 2019

Ceisteanna (57)

Declan Breathnach


57. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the discussions he has held with the British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on the activation of the legacy issues aspects of the Stormont House Agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6190/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

Comprehensive progress on legacy issues from the Troubles is crucial in order to meet the legitimate needs and expectations of victims and survivors, and to contribute to broader societal reconciliation as an integral part of the Peace Process. The Government will continue to engage in support of that, consistent with our role and responsibilities as a co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement.

The Programme for a Partnership Government commits to building on the progress made to establish the comprehensive institutional framework for dealing with the past that is provided for under the 2014 Stormont House Agreement, maintaining the needs of the victims and survivors at the core of our approach. Victims and survivors have had to wait for far too long for a suitable and effective system in Northern Ireland to deal with the legacy of the Troubles. Successive efforts over the last ten years, from the commencement of the Eames-Bradley process in June 2007, have sought to address legacy issues, in particular to meet the legitimate needs and expectations of victims and survivors. However, this is still sought and is urgently needed.

I have engaged extensively with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and with all of the political parties to support a way forward on the implementation of the comprehensive legacy framework that was agreed under the Stormont House Agreement of 2014. I have also consistently emphasised in these discussions the need to ensure proper resourcing of legacy inquests in Northern Ireland, and I continue to raise this matter with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, seeking urgent progress.

Secretary of State Bradley and I are agreed on the imperative of moving ahead with the full implementation of the Stormont House Agreement legacy framework.

On 11 May, I welcomed the launch of a public consultation by the British Government on their draft legislation to establish the legacy bodies provided for in the Stormont House Agreement as an important step forward. The consultation closed for submissions on 5 October and the responses are now being considered by Secretary of State Bradley ahead of a British Government response to the consultation.

While that consultation is about UK legislation to establish the institutions, legislation will also be required in this jurisdiction to provide for cooperation with the Stormont House Agreement legacy bodies. The drafting of legislative proposals for consideration by the Government and Oireachtas is advancing, led by my colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality.