The Government has noted the announcement on 29 September last by the Public Prosecution Service of Northern Ireland to uphold their decision not to prosecute 15 soldiers in connection with the events of Bloody Sunday, following an internal review.
We understand the disappointment felt by all of the families involved in seeking this review, and who have spent so many years in pursuit of justice for their loved ones. Their dedication has been unwavering on what has been a long and difficult road, and our thoughts are with all of the families of those who were killed or injured on that day. Officials in my Department are remaining in contact with the families at this time.
The NI Public Prosecution Service has confirmed that, while Soldier F is among the 15 individuals to which these new decisions relate, the prosecution that commenced against him in 2019 continues. It is important that nothing is said or done that could be seen to prejudice ongoing due legal process.
All victims’ families must have access to an effective investigation and to a process of justice in accordance with the law and regardless of the perpetrator.
The Stormont House Agreement sets out a framework for dealing with the legacy of the past, agreed by all parties and by both the Irish and British Governments. It must be implemented, and that commitment to implementation forms part of the Programme for Government.
In March, the British Government proposed significant changes to the Stormont House Agreement framework. I have engaged with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and others to set out the Government’s position and serious concerns in relation to those changes. Only through a collective approach can we hope to deal with these issues comprehensively and fairly, and in a way that responds to the needs of victims and survivors, and society as a whole.