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.
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.