Mon. May 27th, 2024

NI Troubles: British-Irish meeting to focus on legacy act

Table of Contents

NI Troubles: British-Irish meeting to focus on legacy act

NI Troubles: British-Irish meeting to focus on legacy act
NI Troubles: British-Irish meeting to focus on legacy act

When British and Irish ministers convene on Monday, they will address the implementation of the government’s contentious legacy act, marking the latest session of the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference (BIIGC).

Established under the Good Friday Agreement, the BIIGC convenes biannually to facilitate discussions on matters of mutual interest between the two governments.

NI Troubles: British-Irish meeting to focus on legacy act

Participants at this conference will include Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris and Tánaiste (Irish deputy prime minister) Micheál Martin.

The BIIGC’s previous meeting, held in Dublin in November, was primarily focused on endeavors to restore power-sharing institutions at Stormont.

For the upcoming session, ministers from both governments will gather in London, marking a notable shift in location. Mr. Martin expressed his satisfaction at this development, highlighting its significance as the first BIIGC meeting in London since the restoration of Northern Ireland’s power-sharing institutions.

NI Troubles: British-Irish meeting to focus on legacy act
NI Troubles: British-Irish meeting to focus on legacy act

He emphasized the multitude of mutual interests that will be on the agenda, expressing optimism for a productive conference and reaffirming the ongoing commitment to constructive dialogue between the UK and Ireland.

Historical tensions between the administrations have resurfaced in the context of the legacy law, with the Irish government consistently expressing opposition to the act.

The Legacy and Reconciliation Act, passed at Westminster last year, has been a point of contention, with the government framing it as an effort to bring closure to past events. Starting Wednesday, inquests into Troubles-related killings, if unresolved, will be brought to a close.

NI Troubles: British-Irish meeting to focus on legacy act
NI Troubles: British-Irish meeting to focus on legacy act

Additionally, an Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery (ICRIR) has been established. This new organization aims to assist families in uncovering more details about the circumstances surrounding the deaths or serious injuries of their loved ones.

In a further development, the Irish government has initiated legal action against the UK at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The Troubles legacy bill has officially entered into law, although the government is appealing a High Court ruling regarding certain provisions of the act. In February, the High Court in Belfast struck out the part of the act that offered conditional immunity from prosecution for Troubles-related offenses. Despite this setback, the government is pursuing an appeal.

NI Troubles: British-Irish meeting to focus on legacy act
NI Troubles: British-Irish meeting to focus on legacy act

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris has reaffirmed his commitment to implementing the legislation. The Northern Ireland Troubles Act, which became law in September, aims to bring closure to the legacy of violence that occurred during more than 30 years of conflict in Northern Ireland. Among its provisions, the act will halt future civil litigation and inquests into deaths related to the Troubles.

While the government has asserted that the new act aligns with human rights standards, critics have raised concerns about its potential implications. Ongoing prosecutions will proceed to completion under the new legislation.

However, the act imposes restrictions such as a ban on civil cases filed after May 2022, and inquests that have not reached the stage of findings by May 1, 2024, will be halted. Critics fear that these measures could curtail Troubles investigations, as future inquiries would fall under the jurisdiction of the Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery (ICRIR) rather than the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

Irish Justice Minister Helen McEntee is set to participate in the British-Irish meeting, alongside other ministers. However, a scheduled meeting between Minister McEntee and Home Secretary James Cleverly has been postponed, according to the Irish Department of Justice.

Minister McEntee had intended to discuss migration issues with Mr. Cleverly, including the Irish government’s proposal for new legislation allowing the return of asylum seekers to the UK. The Irish government has noted that 80% of recent arrivals in the Republic of Ireland crossed the border from the UK, and they believe that the UK’s Rwanda policy is impacting Ireland.

Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *