McDonald and O’Neill to meet the Lord Chief Justice on legacy funding

Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald and Deputy Leader Michelle O’Neill are meeting the Lord Chief Justice Declan Morgan tomorrow, Monday 11 June, to discuss legacy inquest funding.

And Michelle O’Neill has warned that any delay by the British government in approving the financial ask for legacy inquest funding would be unacceptable and in breach of a High Court ruling.

Michelle O’Neill said:

“It is three months since the High Court ordered the British Secretary of State, the Executive Office and the Department of Justice to reconsider the refusal to provide the required funding to ensure legacy inquests take place.

“The court ruled that the funding requested by the Lord Chief Justice was unlawfully blocked by then First Minister Arlene Foster.

“I contacted the Department of Justice to provide an update on its plans to progress legacy inquests and the processes are well underway to prepare the inquest funding bid.

“I am concerned however that the department is saying that ‘consideratipn of the bid for legacy inquest funding, once submitted, will be a matter for the UK government’.

“I have told the British Secretary of State Karen Bradley that any delay in approving the financial ask for the Lord Justice’s legacy inquest would be unacceptable and would undermine and breach the direction from the Hughes judgement.

“I have asked for a clear commitment that the financial ask submitted by the Department of Justice will be resourced in full and that Karen Bradley detail her time frame for approving the ask.

“Families have already been waiting far too long for answers – some of them almost half a century – so this work must be prioritised as a matter of absolute urgency.”