23/02/2018

DUP 'Unaware' Of Funding For Legacy Requests

Arlene Foster has claimed "no one in the DUP was aware" of funding for legacy requests.

The DUP leader said it would be "astonishing" if the government granted funding.

The statement came after DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson told The View programme he was "unaware" of an alleged deal to release money for Troubles legacy inquests.

However, Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly said that a deal has been done between them and the UK Government, and said he could prove it with paperwork.

In a statement Mrs Foster said: "It would be astonishing if the Government granted funding for legacy inquests in the absence of an overall agreement to progress all elements of the Stormont House Agreement.
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"It is a matter of public record that SF has been talking to the Government about progressing legacy inquest funding. I was aware of this during the Talks. We were also talking to the Government about matters of importance to us. I will be raising this matter with the Secretary of State."

Alliance MLA David Ford called for funding for legacy requests to be released "immediately".

He said: "When I was Minister of Justice, I worked with the Lord Chief Justice to give additional funding for legacy inquests and the justice agencies with responsibility for supporting them. However, my request for the then Executive to access Treasury funding was never tabled for Executive consideration, as the former First Minister was opposed to it.

"The victims of the Troubles deserve justice and they deserve it now. We need to see the legacy inquest funding released immediately because it is the right thing to do, not it being subject to a side deal or rumours of an agreement. I wrote to the Secretary of State earlier this week to urge her to do just that and I encourage her to do so without further delay."

(CD/MH)

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