Stormont House Agreement: Victims relatives to hold a public meeting over concerns

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Derry relatives of people shot by British forces during the ‘Troubles’ are calling on local political representatives to attend a public meeting over their concerns about how the past in Northern Ireland is being dealt with.

Relatives who attended an event on Monday of this week hosted by the Northern Ireland Victim’s Commissioner have told the ‘Journal’ that their concerns have been exacerbated in the wake of the meeting.

Kate Nash, whose brother was shot dead on Bloody Sunday and whose father was wounded in an attempt to aid him said: “The event was organised to discuss the legacy aspect of the Stormont House Agreement. On the panel were representatives from the Northern Ireland Office, the Department of Justice and an employee from Public Records Office who was in attendance to discuss the workings of the proposed Oral History Archive.

“We felt the event was hosted in what can only be described as a very controlled environment with strictly enforced parameters, as was clear from the outset. Upon entering the room for the event we were given a list of things you could not do, this actually included asking questions from the floor.

Kate continued: “It was confirmed that there will be no public consultation on the finished draft legislation. This means victims may only get the opportunity to read the finished draft when it appears on the parliamentary website with the legislation to be progressed as a Westminster bill if and when it gets legislative consent from Stormont. “

“As such victims are now calling publicly on elected representatives from the Stormont parties to attend an event organised for Thursday, October 29 at 7.30pm in the City Hotel, Derry.

“This event is being organised and will be attended by a broad spectrum of victims. Victims like ourselves who are anxious to receive straight answers to the many questions we still have relating to the proposed legislation. Having met with representatives from the NIO, DOJ and Victim’s Commissioner we are still no further forward with each answer we receive seemingly more vague and less than substantive than the last.

“Our politicians have a duty to answer our questions no matter how uncomfortable. It’s now time to engage with the public they represent.”