“Consultation on the legacy institutions must go ahead with immediate effect and should not be distracted by talk of a statute of limitations, which is tantamount to an amnesty”; that was the message from the Victims and Survivors Forum to the SDLP leader and the Alliance Deputy Leader today.
The Commissioner and a delegation of the Victims and Survivors Forum met with Colum Eastwood and Dolores Kelly as well as Stephen Farry at the Stormont Hotel today to seek their views on the impact of the current statute of limitations debate on delaying immediate consultation on the legislation for legacy institutions.
Both party leaders were unanimous in their support for the Victims and Survivors Forum position. Colum Eastwood said that he believed Victims and Survivors should be in the room while talks on their future were taking place and Stephen Farry expressed a firm view that any nod to a potential amnesty would be a dangerous dead end.
The Commissioner, Judith Thompson, said she was gratified to hear that both parties had told the Secretary of State that they had no objection to the legislative consultation going ahead immediately.
“The Forum were also keen to have a further meeting with the Secretary of State to bottom out his timetable for implementing the process. I think it is fair to say we are all disappointed that we have received no update on the timetable or any indication of the final consultation process.
“If this process is to be truly victim centred we have to be kept fully informed and up to date and I regret to say that I have not been able to report any progress to the Forum.”
The Victims and Survivors Forum have further meetings planned with Michelle O’Neill of Sinn Fein and Robin Swann of the UUP on 7th December as well as the Shadow Secretary of State, Owen Smith in January.