NI: Lawyers and victims’ groups call for greater coronial resources
Lawyers and victims’ groups have called for the provision of further resources to the Coroners Service for Northern Ireland to allow families to access the truth in a number of historical cases.
Inquests have been prevented from progressing by limited resources and delays in disclosure of information by the PSNI and MI5, they said, and the lack of political agreement over cases related to the Troubles has limited alternatives for victims’ families.
Patricia Coyle, partner and solicitor advocate at Harte Coyle Collins, criticised the “failure by state agencies to provide disclosure in a timely fashion”.
Ms Coyle represents families in a number of outstanding inquests, including the family of a man shot by soldiers in Belfast in 1972.
She told The Irish News: “If the state is alleged to have shot dead innocent unarmed civilians it should at the very least, in applying the rule of law, guarantee the next of kin an appropriate investigative mechanism into how their loved one was killed.”
Andree Murphy, deputy director of Relatives for Justice, told The Irish News: “Inquests are the only forum that allow families to be represented, documents disclosed and witnesses cross examined.
“In the absence of an agreement on a comprehensive process and the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement, RFJ are calling for resources to be made immediately available to both the Police Ombudsman’s office and the Coronial Process.
“Currently these are the only Article 2 compliant processes available to families.”