Where’s the government’s response to Eames/Bradley?

Brian’s suggestion to “Look again now at the legacy commission” pre-empted Mark Devenport’s discussion of that topic on Inside Politics with, among others, the former Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Peter Hain.  From Mark Devenport’s blog

On cost, Mr Hain argued that now justice has been devolved the expense of whatever truth recovery process is embarked upon will have to be borne by the devolved budget. This echoes the sentiment of the Westminster Northern Ireland Affairs Committee which argued in its report in December last year that seeking “additional funding from the UK Government looks like a step in the wrong direction. We believe that any significant additional funding should be voted by the Northern Ireland Assembly, rather than the UK Government. Decisions over funding levels and, by extension, the exact nature of any Legacy Commission would, therefore, be a matter of policy choice for the Northern Ireland Executive, rather than the UK Government. It is in the long-term interest of everyone involved that such decisions be taken by those who represent the people of Northern Ireland, and that the Executive be accountable for the financial consequences of such decisions.”

A convenient conclusion, perhaps, for Westminster politicians. Given that the Committee also noted the need for cross community consensus on any future truth recovery process we could be waiting a long time for a conclusion to this debate.

Mark adds,

So far as the time factor is concerned, it’s interesting to note that the government has yet to respond to the Eames Bradley proposals, even though their team reported 16 months ago. The former Secretary of State Shaun Woodward argued that it would be better for the government to delay its response until after the outcome of the Saville tribunal. Even more puzzling, the general public were asked to give their reaction to the Eames Bradley report by October last year, and yet we have still to see any summary of that sample of people’s opinions.

, , , , , ,

  • Brian Walker

    While the UK government has long intended to slough off the cost of dealing with the past to Stormont with Justice powers ( one reason why Westmisnter was so keen on it) , I suspect they would have a real problem with any investigation involving the army. Also I don’t see any way of preventing compensation claims especially when the log jam on inquests is opened up. No one authority can take charge of the whole scene. It’s split between the independent DPP, the judiciary, and the governments at Westminster and Stormont. It could be that the only way to deal with it is through a statute of limitations and a new commissiom as suggested. Even then any attempt to slam the door on redress might be open to HR challenge on right to life grounds. Legal opinion is needed to sort out the options.

  • Pete Baker

    No doubt that’s true, Brian.

    But we’re still 16 months since the Eames/Bradley proposals were published.

  • Alias

    “It is in the long-term interest of everyone involved that such decisions be taken by those who represent the people of Northern Ireland…”

    Actually, “decisions over funding levels and, by extension, the exact nature of any Legacy Commission” would be taken by those who are most responsible for creating victims, so there are no prizes for guessing that neither the Shinners nor the DUP will want the the public to focus on their roles as murder gang organisers and sectarian rabble-rousers respectively. The British state is leaving it up to the victimizers to decide whether or not their victims should recieve any particular remedial attention in that part of its realm.

  • aquifer

    Eames Bradley had a decent stab at the forgiveness bit, but we have a new generation of young people who can forget everything that went before, free to repeat the mistakes of the past.

    Could we put the whole chain of events on the internet, and buy the copyright of some of the key books and link to them?

    Focussing on the victims and their relatives would be an appropriate response to the idiots who were using human lives as sticky post-it notes for their political daubings.

  • Cynic

    “the British state is leaving it up to the victimizers to decide ”

    ……. we elected them, not the NIO, just as we supported them through the Troubles ………………. when will you ever take responsibility for anything?

  • Cynic

    By all means lets support the victims but what’s suggested will dominate politics for the next 5 years and widen the fissures, not heal them…..it is time to let it all go…. the past is the past

  • Granni Trixie

    ‘the past is the past’ – would that this were the case Cynic.
    But stories coming out in dribs and drabs demonstratates the legacy of hurt, some of it cross generational.
    Also, lessons from across the world show that if left unaddressed in some form, the wounds keep festering, surrupting in the future.

    Is consensus not emerging that recording and storytelling might be effective in this respect in NI? I mean this in respect of the potential for healing in giving a central voice to victim’s experience.

    Personally, I also do not want to see that narratives of the troubles left to extremes to produce and exploit.

    I have great respect for Healing Through Remembering – they are a resource in tackling what to do about the past, they seem to be going about their work carefully.

  • o’connor

    Eames Bradley How they love the victims, afterall it’s how they make their livings.

    The troubles created so many victims, but it seems there is only ever one direction for the compensation. It is yet another cause for resentment.

    Enough of the crap, get rid of Eames Bradley and let the historians mete out the blame.