After a long wait, the Northern Ireland Office have today published the responses to the Legacy Consultation which ran from May to October last year.

Victims Commissioner Judith Thompson has welcomed the publication of the responses as “a step towards dealing with the pain, injury and loss experienced by so many during decades of the Troubles.”

“I am particularly glad to note that the NIO have acknowledged the recommendation that all previous HET cases would be re-examined through a Historical Investigations Unit.  I believe this is important to address concerns that the HIU must be fair, balanced and recognisant of the rule of law.

“Whilst no indication of timeframes has been outlined for the implementation of these institutions, it goes without saying there has been enough delay. It would be grossly unfair to continue to raise the expectations of victims and survivors and then not deliver. I would therefore call upon the Secretary of State to give a clear action plan and time frame for delivering on the needs of people who want truth, justice and acknowledgement.

 “I also welcome the government’s commitment to considering my recent advice on a pension for the severely injured. We will publish this advice in the coming weeks’ and it is important to know we have their full support in bringing forward its delivery.

“It has been overwhelmingly clear that the infrastructures – past and present –put in place to address legacy issues have not effectively delivered for victims and survivors, or for the wider community. I believe that the failure to do this puts our communities at risk of tensions and unrest.  Nobody wants to see those days return, particularly those who have already lived through it and know the reality of the harm caused by conflict and the rippling effect that this harm has on families down the years.  Addressing this painful past is an essential part of building a more reconciled future.

“It was also interesting to note the focus on exploring the different gender narratives of the Troubles, an area which has been raised many times by the Victims and Survivors Forum and I welcome that that has been reflected in the submissions to the Northern Ireland Office,” she concluded.