Major effort at Northern Ireland reconciliation needed

Friday, 27 June 2014

The outgoing Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), Matt Baggott, has told the BBC that his force should no longer be responsible for investigating murders by the British state and paramilitary groups during Northern Ireland civil conflict.

There was a 'need to separate the past from the present,' he told the BBC. 'I think however that is done, the PSNI should no longer be accountable for dealing with issues that pre-date the Good Friday Agreement'.

Writing today on this site, Maurice Punch, Visiting Professor at King's College London and the London School of Economics, argues that there is 'a deep and toxic legacy that remains to scar Northern Ireland’s society and threatens to unhinge much of what has been achieved'.

He calls for the UK government to:

'step in and announce a major effort at reconciliation to prevent that past feeding the resilient sectarianism and undermining the hope for a healthy future in the Province. The balance should now shift from blame to the needs of all victims of the Troubles, their relatives and those who still suffer – including the injured who await compensation.'