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  1. ITV Report

Victims’ group calls for release of Stormont House Agreement funding

The victims’ group Relatives for Justice met with the NI Secretary of State James Brokenshire at Stormont on Monday and called for the release of funds from the Stormont House Agreement.

The group made clear their frustration that mechanisms agreed in December 2014 had yet to be implemented.

Director for Relatives for Justice, Mark Thompson, said that the meeting with Mr Brokenshire had been ‘frank.’

“We left him under no illusions whatsoever about what was required on the part of the UK government,” he said.

“He said that he was intent on moving forward and implementing, but we have said we have had Eames-Bradley, Hass-O’Sullivan and we’ve had Stormont House and we are sitting now with a national security road block and effectively it needs to be removed."

Carmel Quinn, a board member with the group said that Mr Brokenshire had listened to their arguments but action was needed now.

“He was in listening mode, but we made it quite clear we are there representing all the families who are waiting on inquests,” she said.

“The fact being that up until now the British Government has implemented absolutely nothing for dealing with the past.

“My brother John Lafferty was murdered in what’s known as the Ballymurphy Massacre and in the Secretary’s previous meetings with the Ballymurphy families, the families got up and walked out and I was fully in support of that.

“We are just so frustrated at all the delays and the British Government need to take responsibility, listen to the Lord Chief Justice and implement these inquests.”

A statement from the Northern Ireland Office hailed the meeting as positive. “The Secretary of State has held a constructive meeting with the Relatives of Justice, as part of his continuing engagement with victims groups finding a way forward in addressing the issues of the past,” it read.

“The Secretary of State is clear that he wants to see the bodies up and running as quickly as possible, and has met all the main political parties to discuss this, along with a number of victims groups. He is clear that the process would benefit from a more public phase.

“The Government has a manifesto commitment to deliver the Stormont House Agreement, including the establishment of the new legacy bodies.

“The Government is fully engaged in this work, which has been shaped by many meetings with political parties, academics and victims’ groups, and with the Irish Government who also have important obligations in respect of the past.”