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Legacy Investigations: Cross-community Support

Volume 681: debated on Wednesday 30 September 2020

What steps he is taking to help ensure that Northern Ireland legacy investigations proceed on the basis of cross-community support. (906638)

The Government have been clear that we will bring forward legislation to address the legacy of the troubles, which focuses on reconciliation, delivers for victims and ends the cycle of investigations that have failed both victims and veterans alike with vexatious claims. We are committed to making progress on this and, indeed, to engaging with the Irish Government, the Northern Ireland parties and stakeholders from across the community on this issue.

The Stormont House agreement was agreed by the overwhelming majority of political parties in Northern Ireland, was endorsed by the British and Irish Governments and had cross-community support. Will the Secretary of State recommit to the principles of Stormont House and reconfirm the central involvement of victims’ groups in any legacy proposals?

Yes, as I outlined at the time of the written ministerial statement, we absolutely do follow through and we intend to follow through on the principles of Stormont House. It is hugely important that we are all working with all communities, and particularly the families and the victims who suffered so much through the troubles. I was so pleased that we are finally seeing the victims’ payment scheme going forward. It is a hugely important step for all those people in Northern Ireland.

Some Members of this House want an amnesty for veterans who served in Northern Ireland. In 1976, Majella O’Hare, who was 12 years old, was walking with her friends to church. She was shot twice in the back, and killed, by a British paratrooper. Does the Secretary of State believe that that paratrooper should be immune from prosecution?

The hon. Gentleman will know that I am unable to comment on any particular cases, but we all recognise the sensitivities, difficulties and complexity of all the issues that come through the troubles, which people in Northern Ireland have been dealing with for a very long time. We have made a commitment through NDNA, and as I did in the written ministerial statement earlier this year, to find a way to work through this, working with all parties and all communities in Northern Ireland, and we are still determined to deliver on that.