The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has this evening released a statement on the prosecution of Soldier F over the events of Bloody Sunday.
He faces prosecution for murdering two people, and attempting to murder another four.
Karen Bradley, who angered relatives by recently telling the House of Commons that killings by members of the military in Northern Ireland “were not crimes” (something for which she apologised), said: “We are indebted to those who served with courage and distinction to bring peace to Northern Ireland, and I have the deepest sympathy for the suffering of the families of those who were killed on Bloody Sunday and all those who lost loved ones during the Troubles.
“Everyone agrees that the current system for investigating the past in Northern Ireland needs to be reformed.
“That is why we need to get the institutions to investigate the past set up quickly and completed as soon as possible.
“We will set out how we intend to move forward shortly.
“As this is now an ongoing legal matter, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
The “institutions to investigate the past” to which she was referring were drawn up years ago in the Stormont House Agreement, and formed the basis for a public consultation carried out last year.
They include politically-independent “oral history archive” to gather Troubles stories, and a team of academics to produce a “factual historical timeline and statistical analysis of the Troubles”; Plans to establish a Historical Investigations Unit with full police powers to replace the defunct HET, which will be expected to conclude all of its work into the massive backlog of unsolved murders within five years; The creation of an Independent Commission on Information Retrieval (ICIR) to “enable victims and survivors to seek and privately receive information about the (Troubles-related) deaths”.
There were over 17,000 responses to the consultation.