“We must deal with the past without living in it.”

The four three Victims Commissioners have published their “Advice to Government” on “Dealing with the Past” [pdf file].  From the document

The Commission for Victims and Survivors has concluded that there is a need for the British Government, acting with the support of the Irish Government, to press the political and civic leaders of Northern Ireland to agree structures to deal with the past, beyond the current arrangements of the Historical Enquiries Team and the Police Ombudsman.

An Irish Times report summarises the proposals


– Stormont parties must address the legacy of the Troubles and avoid a temptation to ignore it by “drawing a line under the past”.

– British and Irish governments should “press political and civic leaders to agree structures to deal with the past”.

– Parties should work on a design process, to draw up an agreed policy between November and April for implementation in November 2011.

– Work should include inputs from the children’s commissioner, the PSNI, justice department, the Community Relations Council and the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister.

– No general amnesty as this “would be repugnant to the vast majority of victims”.

– No £12,000 “Recognition Payment”, as recommended by Eames-Bradley, for the time being.

But, as UTV’s Ken Reid notes on his blog

But is the political will there?

I have my doubts.

Unionists point to the lack of a clear definition of a victim.

Republicans are also not happy.

More importantly the new British Government is lukewarm at best, already side-stepping proposals for a legacy commission.

The issue, however, will not go away.

Somebody somewhere will have to take responsibility.

What a chance for the First and Deputy First Ministers to make their mark.

I have my doubts too…

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