14/07/2021 - Published by

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has made an oral statement to the House of Commons – Addressing the Legacy of Northern Ireland’s Past

The full statement can be read here:

The Government is publishing a paper that proposes a series of measures to address the legacy of the past in Northern Ireland.

The measures set out in our Paper include three key proposals:

• A new independent body that would focus on the recovery and provision of information about Troubles-related deaths and most serious injuries. This body would be focused on helping families to find out the truth of what happened to their loved ones. Where families do not want the past raked over again, they would be able to make this clear. But for those families that want to get answers, the body would have full powers to seek access to information and find out what happened.

• A package of measures also includes a major oral history initiative, consistent with what was included in the Stormont House Agreement. This initiative would create opportunities for people from all backgrounds to share their experiences and perspectives related to the Troubles – and crucially, to learn about those of others. Balance and sensitivity would be of central importance, and a concerted effort would be made to engage with those whose voices may not have been heard previously.

• A statute of limitations, to apply equally to all Troubles-related incidents. We know that the prospect of the end of criminal prosecutions will be difficult for some to accept, and this is not a position that we take lightly. But we have come to the view that this would be the best way to facilitate an effective information retrieval and provision process, and the best way to help Northern Ireland move further along the road to reconciliation. It is a painful recognition of the reality of where we are.

The Peace Foundation is commissioned by the Northern Ireland Victims and Survivors Service to provide health and well being support to anyone affected by the Troubles who is domiciled in Great Britain. The HM Government announcement, including their stated intention to introduce a statute of limitations which prevents legal proceedings, applied equally to all Troubles-related incidents, has come as a shock to many people and is causing upset and anger for many victims. The Peace Foundation priority is to support victims in their health and well being and is available to provide free and confidential assistance.  We can be contacted on support@peace-foundation.org.uk or 01925 581 231.