Peter Sheridan to become commissioner for investigations on new legacy body

Peter Sheridan

A former senior police officer is to become commissioner for investigations at the Government's new legacy body in Northern Ireland.

Peter Sheridan served in the RUC and PSNI and more recently as chief executive of peace-building charity Co-operation Ireland.

He is to join the Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery (ICRIR), which is being headed by former Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan.

The body will take over hundreds of unresolved Troubles cases when the Government's controversial legacy Bill becomes law.

The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill will give a limited form of immunity from prosecution for Troubles-related offences to former terrorists who co-operate with the ICRIR.

It would also prevent future civil cases and inquests.

The Bill is opposed by all major Stormont parties, the Irish Government and victims' campaign groups.

Mr Sheridan said: "I've spent the last 15 years working for an organisation that is dedicated to bringing peace and reconciliation to Northern Ireland - and before this, a substantial period of my career working to deliver law and order in our community.

"I am absolutely committed to carrying out this role without fear or favour and I fully expect everyone to hold me accountable to do this.

"There is nothing I want more than to see people given the information and closure they need, using the full range of powers and tools that the commission will be able to bring to this work, so that we can all move forward together.

"We may never forget the past, but I hope we will be able to focus on building an inspiring future together for Northern Ireland, for the sake of future generations."

Sir Declan said: "I'm delighted that this significant milestone has been reached in our work to establish the commission.

"Peter brings a unique combination of professional investigative experience, a thorough appreciation of our context and an unrivalled track record of reaching across all aspects of our community."

Mr Sheridan is expected to start work in December, once prior commitments are completed.

He will be supporting Sir Declan engaging with interested groups to ensure input from as wide a range of views as possible, as the commission establishes its policies and procedures ahead of opening for requests from next summer.

Mr Sheridan has previously been made an OBE for his services to policing and a CBE for his work at Co-operation Ireland.

When he retired from policing he was the most senior Catholic officer in the PSNI.

During his work with Co-operation Ireland, he was instrumental in arranging the meeting between the late Queen and the then deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness, in 2012.

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