Legacy processes focus too much on police and army, NIO minister concedes

The Northern Ireland Office Parliamentary Under Secretary Lord Dunlop answers questions in the House of Lords on Wednesday January 18 2017. He admitted that the processes for looking at the past are currently imbalanced

The Northern Ireland Office Parliamentary Under Secretary Lord Dunlop answers questions in the House of Lords on Wednesday January 18 2017. He admitted that the processes for looking at the past are currently imbalanced

The processes for looking back at unresolved issues from the Troubles in Northern Ireland are currently imbalanced, a government minister has agreed.

Lord Dunlop, parliamentary under secretary in the Northern Ireland Office, accepted that view of legacy processes when he took questions from peers yesterday.

He had been asked about the perceived imbalance by Lord Robathan, who as the Conservative MP Andrew Robathan was formerly an NIO and a defence minister.

The Tory peer posed the following question to Lord Dunlop: “Will the hiatus [at Stormont] allow the government to take forward in any way the legacy package of the Stormont House Agreement, because currently former police officers and soldiers are being prosecuted disproportionately?

“They went out and served in Northern Ireland to protect both sides of the community.

“They are being prosecuted disproportionately compared to the terrorists that they were protecting the community from.”

Lord Dunlop replied that he “very much agreed”.

“The current situation is unsatisfactory and it absolutely remains a priority for the Government to build a consensus on this issue and to find a way forward,” the minister said.

“The Stormont House Agreement does provide a framework for reform in the new institutions that were in that agreement and that will we believe provide a more fair, balanced and proportionate way forward on this issue.”