A VICTIMS campaign group has accused the DUP of continually having “placed their face against” progress on legacy inquests.
The comments come as Arlene Foster said she would be “writing to the Irish Primeminister” to express concern after further delays this week in the inquest into the IRA massacre of ten Protestant workmen at Kingsmill. Mrs Foster made her comments after it emerged that documents linked to the 1976 attack and requested from gardaí by a judge in Belfast had not been produced. The request was made by Judge Brian Sherrard who is presiding over the high-profile case.
Mrs Foster said: “I am disappointed that the Irish government is now standing in the way of closure for these families, who have already suffered so much.” The Republic’s Justice department said the Irish government had already taken the “unprecedented” step of producing domestic legislation to facilitate legal co-operation with the inquest. “This legislation facilitated the transfer of significant evidential material by An Garda Síochána to the North of Ireland coroner,” a spokesman said.
“The Irish authorities have continuously sought to cooperate with the coroner and his legal team as part of an ongoing legal process.” Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan had requested just over £10m to fund a proposal to deal more expediently with legacy inquests last year. However, Mrs Foster blocked the funding prior to the 2016 assembly election saying the process was “skewed” towards killings committed by the state, and she “will not allow any process to rewrite the past”. Andrée Murphy of Relatives for Justice said while she welcomed Mrs Foster’s comments in relation to the Kingsmill delays, her decision to block funding for legacy inquests in March 2016 had caused “harm on top of the devastation already experienced”. “Families from every background and all communities are engaged in inquests”, she said. It would be hard to over state the huge pressure and ever present anxiety that the lack of progress on inquests has caused. “And movement on it would demonstrate goodwill from the British government and unionist parties who have thus far placed their face against delivering achievable remedy to these families.”
With many thanks to: Allison Morris, The Irish News for the original story.