Addressing the Legacy of Northern Ireland’s Past: CVSNI Advice to Politicians

The Commission for Victims and Survivors is currently developing advice around dealing with the legacy of the past; this advice will be submitted to the Secretary of State in December 2018 and released publicly in January 2019.

The Commission for Victims and Survivors submitted a response on 5 October 2018 to the Northern Ireland Office’s consultation on “Addressing the Legacy of Northern Ireland’s Past”.

The Commission engaged extensively with voluntary and community sector organisations and other service providers during the consultation period and this feedback informed our consultation response. 

Going forward, this will be used to inform policy advice to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. In addition, we will be providing further feedback to other statutory agencies around the delivery of each of the proposals.

Official recommendations will be made for both the British and Irish governments; these recommendations will go beyond the scope of the consultation questions in relation to the proposed setup and operations of the Historical Investigation Unit (HIU), Independent Commission for Information Retrieval (ICIR), Oral History Archive (OHA) and the Implementation and Reconciliation Group (IRG).

The Commissioner’s recommendations will also include areas that were not considered or addressed within the consultation including a pension for those severely physically and psychologically injured and further progress in the setup of the Regional Trauma Network to address mental health care needs.

We have become increasingly aware of the issues faced by those victims and survivors outside of Northern Ireland.  The Victims and Survivors (NI) Order 2006, details the Commissioner’s statutory power to “issue guidance on best practice in relation to any matter concerning the interests of victims and survivors.”

The Commission will therefore seek to advise the governments in both UK and the Republic of Ireland on issues such as how to best facilitate access to justice for historical investigations which fall outside the remit of the HIU and how to best provide effective mental health services for those outside Northern Ireland.

We believe that addressing the needs of all victims, survivors and civic society is paramount in ensuring a cohesive approach to dealing with the legacy of the conflict in and around Northern Ireland.