Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Michelle O’Neill has said that today’s announcement that funding is being released for legacy inquests was long overdue.
The Sinn Féin Vice President also said there is now an onus on the PSNI and the British Ministry of Defence to provide full disclosure of information to the inquests as requested by the Lord Chief Justice.
Michelle O’Neill said:
“I welcome the release of these funds which is long overdue.
“Sinn Féin has campaigned along with the families of victims for the release of funding to clear the unacceptable backlog of legacy inquests.
“The Lord Chief Justice requested these funds back in January 2016.
“Since then Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald and I have raised this issue on a number of occasions with the British Prime Minister Theresa May and with Karen Bradley.
“Some families have been waiting almost five decades on a coroner’s inquest, the most basic of investigations into the killings of their loved ones.
“And it is almost a year since Arlene Foster was found by the courts to have acted unlawfully in blocking the release of this funding.
“Those delays continued to deny the families of victims of the conflict access to truth and justice. That is deplorable and disgraceful.
“It is Sinn Féin’s firm hope that the Lord Chief Justice will now have the resources to clear the backlog in legacy cases on around 100 killings.
“The Lord Chief Justice has also requested full co-operation and disclosure from the PSNI and the British Ministry of Defence for legacy inquests and there is an onus on the British government to meet their responsibilities to the judicial process.”