‘Troubles’ legacy: McGuinness to push for release of inquest funding

Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness.

Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has said the fact that British funding to proceed with legacy inquests into ‘troubles’ related killings has not been released is an “absolute disgrace.”

Mr McGuinness also said that the issue will be at the top of his agenda when he meets with British Prime Minister Theresa May and the new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire.

The Sinn Fein vice-president said: “Sinn Féin fully endorsed these proposals from the beginning and it is an absolute disgrace that families who have been waiting for justice for decades are still being kept waiting by the current British government.

“We want to see the funds released and the inquests taking place so the families can begin to get some answers about what happened their loved ones.

“To date, the DUP has refused to discuss the issue at the Executive but this should not stop the British Government releasing the funds. It is their decision but so far they have refused to do so.

“These families have a right to inquests and the British government need to facilitate that by releasing the necessary funds.

“There is now a new British Prime Minister and Secretary of State in place, both of whom I will be meeting over the coming days. I will be pressing them to release the funds immediately to enable the Lord Chief Justice to get on with his work.”

The proposal first emerged in February when the Lord Chief Justice Declan Morgan put forward a plan to establish a special unit to fast-track some 56 cases involving up to 100 deaths.

The North’s most senior judge also called for the British government to resource it from funds, which were earmarked for legacy issues in the Fresh Start Agreement.