NI: Lord Chief Justice urges progress on legacy inquests

Lord Chief Justice, Sir Declan Morgan
Lord Chief Justice, Sir Declan Morgan

The Lord Chief Justice, Sir Declan Morgan, has reminded Government and Executive officials of their legal obligation to ensure that 56 legacy inquests go ahead.

Speaking to BBC News, Sir Declan urged the UK government and the Northern Ireland Executive to quickly resolve the issue of inquests funding, saying that a failure to do so could frustrate the rule of law.

A proposal by Sir Declan to create a new legacy inquest unit failed to secure funding in May this year.

The Executive did not sign off on his request for funding to set up the new unit, which he said could complete the backlog within five years.

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire has also declined to unilaterally provide funding for the project.

Sir Declan said: “I hoped that it would receive a sympathetic hearing, I was disappointed that there was no immediate response.

“I hoped that in due course that the parties would be able to find a way forward, both those here within Northern Ireland and the secretary of state’s office, but unfortunately so far that hasn’t occurred.”

He added: “All the victims and survivors need this issue to be grasped. This is the opportunity to do something about it.

“As the victims commissioner has said, there is a window of opportunity now, and we should not miss it.”

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