News | SDLP urges British Government to publish Legacy Bill

SDLP urges British Government to publish Legacy Bill

West Belfast MLA Alex Attwood has confirmed that earlier this afternoon the SDLP Leader wrote to the Secretary of State of Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers and proposed that the British Government publish the revised Legacy Bill that appears to have been part of discussions in this weeks talks.

He said “In his correspondence with the British government, Leader of the SDLP Colum Eastwood confirmed that the SDLP has had significant concerns since the Stormont House Agreement that victims and survivors had not been properly consulted on proposals to address the past and that since December 2014 victims and survivors have had no proper input into the shaping of mechanisms to address the past.

The SDLP urged the Secretary of State to publish its latest draft of the legacy bill to inform victims, survivors and the wider public of what was being proposed.

In his correspondence with the British Government, copied to the Irish government, the new SDLP Leader advised the Secretary of State that the Party wished to sit down as quickly as possible to assess how to take legacy issues forward.”

“It is the view of the SDLP that the issue must be addressed. Those in the State or in paramilitary organisations who seek to resist truth and accountability cannot be allowed to prevail.

The SDLP raised the matter with the two Governments in private in the first instance in an attempt to shape a way forward and to ensure no further upset to victims and survivors who have been let down this week.

This is a time to work to resolve differences in how we deal with the past. This is a time to again address the hopes and needs of survivors. Pointing the finger as some now appear to be doing is not the way forward.

At the last plenary meeting on Tuesday the SDLP told British and Irish officials that issue of past could not be left unresolved and we had to return to it quickly. This afternoon the SDLP Leader has asked to meet the Secretary of State in order to move the issue forward.”

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