Sinn Féin Deputy leader Michelle O’Neill has said the extension to the legacy consultation must be accompanied by additional measures to assist people to engage with the process and cannot be used as an excuse to further delay implementation of the Stormont House Agreement.
The Sinn Féin Vice-president confirmed that she has written to British Secretary of State Karen Bradley following today’s announcement that the consultation on proposed new legacy legislation has been extended.
Michelle O’Neill said:
“It is vital that all voices, particularly, those of victims are heard as part of this consultation process and I have made clear in my correspondence to the British Secretary of State that their approach to date has been has been defined by a lack of sustained outreach and engagement, momentum and awareness.
“Therefore, if this extension is to be effective it should be accompanied by additional measures including bespoke support and back-up that facilitates as many citizens as possible to respond to the consultation.
“I have also made it clear that the extension cannot be allowed to impact on the timeframe for the introduction of legislation.
“Any further delays to the establishment of the legacy mechanisms would be unacceptable to Sinn Féin and many families, some of whom have been waiting 45 years for access to a basic inquest.
“I have asked for a firm commitment that the legislative process will commence at the earliest opportunity and that British government will work to ensure the completion of the legislative process before the 2019 summer recess.” CRÍOCH/ENDS