Northern Ireland

Victims commissioner says lack of progress disappointing

Judith Thompson
Image caption Judith Thompson said progress on the issue was needed before Christmas

Victims Commissioner Judith Thompson has said she is disappointed that there has not been any real progress on dealing with the legacy of the past.

Victims and survivors had hoped a package would be up and running by now.

It would include a new investigations unit, an oral history archive and enhanced funding for Troubles-related inquests.

Speaking on BBC NI's Sunday Politics, Ms Thompson said some sort of agreement needs to be in place by Christmas.

"I believe that if we're going to see the legislation that is needed within this parliamentary session, then we need to see something for consultation, really this side of Christmas," she said.

Image caption Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly said he wanted to see short negotiations to resolve the issue

"It's really important that was does get put in place is fit for purpose, trusted, transparent and deals even-handedly with issues where different victims and survivors have different wishes and fears and priorities."

Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly says he wants an agreement on dealing with the past as quickly as possible.

Secretary of State James Brokenshire has said it is clear that the process would benefit from a more public phase.

Mr Kelly wants talks between all the parties.

"We're up for a short, sharp negotiation - let's get it sorted," he said.

"Yet the British government are not showing. I mean the proof is in the pudding, so if he [Mr Brokenshire] says that he's determined to do this and there is a compromise then let him put it forward."

Image caption Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt said he wanted to see the issue properly resolved

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt hit out at the DUP and Sinn Féin's failure to resolve legacy issues.

"Within the basket of measures that are truth acknowledgement and justice we object to the fact that what we have at the moment is imbalanced, incomplete and imperfect and we're not supporting a continuation of that," he said.

"What we want is a full solution to truth."

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