Tuesday, 21 September 2021
Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters
I note the Senator's comments, which I very much welcome. The irony is that the British proposals have managed to create more unity on this island than Britain might have expected. This has been very positive. All of us, across all sides, have a shared hurt irrespective of our political viewpoints and different backgrounds. Through the Stormont House Agreement, we also have a shared approach as to how to deal with that hurt in an inclusive way. There is an onus on all of us to see real progress for victims and survivors of the Troubles across the island. If we fail to do so, we allow grief to be deepened and that burden to be passed on to the next generation.
There must be a framework for dealing with the past that meets the legitimate needs of families, that provides a real pathway to reconciliation and that, crucially, upholds other human rights obligations, including those under the European Convention on Human Rights. Achieving this requires a collective approach and such an approach is already set out in the Stormont House Agreement. Progress on implementing a framework that is consistent with the framework and fundamental principles of the Stormont House Agreement is critical to ensuring that these issues are dealt with comprehensively and fairly, providing a route to truth and justice for those who have already waited far too long.