Northern Ireland

Victims' commissioner calls for legacy talks to begin now

Judith Thompson
Image caption Judith Thompson made her comments on the Sunday Politics programme

The victims' commissioner has said new talks between the political parties to try and get agreement on dealing with outstanding legacy issues need to start now.

The government has been accused of failing to deliver on a commitment made in the Stormont House Agreement, by insisting on a veto on material to protect national security.

Judith Thompson told the Sunday Politics programme there was a level of energy and common purpose that was not there before.

"What was being developed at the very, very close of those talks was a move towards some sort of judicial model where the director of that new HIU (Historical Investigations Unit), if they felt that national security was being used as an excuse to cover up things which were uncomfortable rather than security sensitive, then they could go through judicial process," she said.

"Now that judicial process, the nature of it wasn't fully agreed, but there are ways of doing creative thinking around that."

Last month, a deal, known as Fresh Start, was agreed between the British and Irish governments and Northern Ireland's two largest parties, the DUP and Sinn Féin.

It followed 10 weeks of talks and secured agreement on outstanding issues relating to paramilitaries and welfare reform.

However, they failed to break the deadlock over legacy issues arising from Northern Ireland's Troubles.

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