Brokenshire legacy comments ‘criticised structures not people’

James Brokenshire's statement said legacy inquests were disproportionately focused on the police and Army
James Brokenshire's statement said legacy inquests were disproportionately focused on the police and Army

The UK government has stressed that Secretary of State James Brokenshire was not criticising the legal authorities when he said that investigations into killings during the Troubles were “disproportionately” focused on members of the police and Army.

A government spokeperson yesterday pointed to the Stormont House Agreement as a “better way to deal with legacy investigations”.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Brokenshire had said inquiries were “not working” and backed the “vast majority” of soldiers and the RUC as having served with “distinction”.

The PSNI’s legacy investigation branch is looking into more than 3,200 killings in the Province between 1969 and 2004.

In a statement a government spokesperson said: “The position set out by the secretary of state on Sunday is not new.

“There is a broad consensus that the current system was not designed to address the legacy of the past, and is not working to meet the needs of victims and survivors on all sides.

“This is not a criticism of any individuals, not least the police and prosecuting authorities all of whom uphold the law independently of government. Rather it is a recognition that we need new and better structures for addressing these issues.

“The government is clear that the proposals set out in the Stormont House Agreement provide a better way to deal with legacy investigations, in a manner that will be balanced, fair and proportionate and recognise the needs of all victims, the people who suffered more than anyone else as a result of the Troubles.”