Britain ‘cherry picking’ legacy proposals
Britain ‘cherry picking’ legacy proposals

British Direct Ruler Shaun Woodward has ruled out implementing so-called “recognition payments” to families of victims as a means of tackling issues of truth, justice and reconciliation arising from the conflict.

The £12,000 payments proposal recommended for the next of kin of all those killed during the conflict by the Eames/Bradley Consultative Group on the Past was heavily criticised when it was made public last month.

Unionists criticised the universal aspect of the plan, insisting the families of IRA Volunteers should receive nothing. The families of nationalist victims equally condemned the idea that the money would compensate for the continued cover-up of British collusion and state killings.

Woodward said that “very clearly there is no consensus” on the payments which feature among 31 recommendations contained in the report.

He said the 31 recommendations of the Eames/Bradley plan “really do bear looking at”.

“I have decided that however we proceed on this report, and there are many things I would like us to consider in it, I do not think that I will be proposing that this particular recommendation is one we should go forward on, there isn’t a consensus on it.”

Political reaction to Mr Woodward’s comments was swift with DUP leader Peter Robinson saying the idea of a payment was from the outset “morally offensive”.

“There are other elements of the Eames/Bradley proposals which are equally unacceptable and we will continue to make representations on these issues,” he said.

Jim Nicholson of the UUP agreed and criticised what he said was a “derisory, insensitive and crude attempt by Eames/Bradley to draw a line under the past”.

But during difficult exchanges at a House of Commons committee meeting this week, Lord Eames and Mr Bradley trenchantly defended their report. They insisted that while Mr Woodward had ruled out the payment inevitably it would come “back on the table”.

Sinn Féin spokesman on victims Francie Molloy said: “When this report was published we cautioned the next stage would be for the British state, the chief protagonist in the conflict, to take the report away and to cherry-pick through it to arrive at a position which suits their interests.

“British State interests do not match the interests of victims and survivors.

“This is exactly the approach successive British governments have taken to these sorts of reports in the past.

“Be it Patten on Policing or previous reports on Equality issues and Fair Employment in particular.

“Reports are written, recommendations are made and then the British government do what is in their interests.

“That is what is now happening. This was always a weakness in the Eames/Bradley approach which we publicly identified.

“The British government appointed them, set their terms of reference, funded them and ultimately reserved the right to pick and choose from their recommendations.

“This is a bigger issue than the £12,000 recognition payment. This process has to be about delivering an effective, victim-centred truth recovery process which is independent of the British State.

“The appointment by the British Government of a Legacy Commission as proposed by the Eames/Bradley report falls very short of this demand.

“The fact that the British government have already started to cherry pick away from Eames/Bradley will not inspire confidence that they have decided to end their policy of concealment and cover-up and begin to address the issue of truth in an open and transparent fashion.”

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