Northern Ireland

Peter Robinson wants victims to see Troubles legacy talks papers

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Media captionPeter Robinson says key documents on the legacy of the Troubles which were part of the recent Stormont talks should be made public

Key documents on the legacy of the Troubles, discussed at recent talks, should be published so victims' groups can read them, Peter Robinson has said.

His Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin reached a new deal on Tuesday but it did not include legacy issues.

The Northern Ireland Victims Forum has demanded an apology from politicians over the failure to agree new agencies to investigate the Troubles legacy.

Mr Robinson has said it was not the DUP which held up this aspect of the talks.

"There were two essential documents in relation to legacy issues," Mr Robinson told the BBC's Inside Politics.

"The Democratic Unionist Party has approved both, so the problem is not with the Democratic Unionist Party.

"So, if apologies are being sought, then they should go and seek those who have difficulties in giving approval to those documents."

Blocking access

Reacting to Mr Robinson's remarks, Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said that "great difficulty" had been created by the government's insistence on maintaining a veto over the release of classified information about Troubles incidents.

He accused Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers of "blocking" access to Troubles documents, including some that had already been in the public domain.

He said many victims' families supported the stance that Sinn Féin has taken.

"The families have said very clearly to us 'bad legislation is worse than no legislation at all'," Mr Kelly said.

"We need to get this right."

'Sensitive information'

However, Ms Villiers has defended the government's position on disclosure of information about Troubles incidents, citing national security concerns.

"We want families to have as much information as possible but there is a certain amount of sensitive information which, if it was publicly known, would potentially give assistance to terrorists and we simply couldn't compromise on that," she said.

The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) said it has urged the secretary of state to publish the government's latest draft of the Legacy Bill "to inform victims, survivors and the wider public of what was being proposed" during the talks.

Peter Robinson's interview will be broadcast as part of Inside Politics on BBC Radio Ulster at 18:05 GMT on Friday 20 November, and will be repeated at 13:35 on Saturday 21 November.

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