British-Irish body '˜not forum' for HIA talks

The British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference is not the correct forum to discuss the issue of historic institutional abuse, the DUP has stressed.

Thursday, 26th July 2018, 7:10 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th July 2018, 7:19 pm
David Lidington

The body, which met on Wednesday for the first time in 11 years, gives Dublin a consultative role on non-devolved issues affecting Northern Ireland.

Ahead of the conference, the DUP told the News Letter it had received assurances from the British government that devolved matters would be off the table.

However, in comments after the meeting both the British and Irish governments referred to issues having been discussed which are devolved matters.

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Simon Coveney

David Lidington, Theresa May’s de facto deputy who chaired the meeting, said it discussed prisons and the Irish government said it discussed payments to victims of historic institutional abuse (HIA) – two matters which are devolved to Stormont.

When asked to respond to this yesterday, a DUP spokesperson said: “We want to see the HIA issues properly addressed and dealt with.

“If Stormont continues to be blocked then that legislation must be brought forward at Westminster. If there are some cross-border issues relating to HIA, those should be addressed through the proper forum.”