Tánaiste criticises UK government's decision to drop British soldier investigations

The Tánaiste has criticised the British government's announcement that they would be ending certain investigations into British soldiers.

Tánaiste criticises UK government's decision to drop British soldier investigations

The Tánaiste has criticised the British government's announcement that they would be ending certain investigations into British soldiers.

British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis said his government would be ending repeated re-investigations, where there is "no new compelling evidence", to protect former soldiers from "vexatious claims".

The proposals come after the British Government's previous promise to deliver a way forward on legacy matters within 100 days of the New Decade New Approach deal.

These new proposals include a pledge to ensure that Northern Ireland veterans receive equal treatment to their counterparts who served overseas and would introduce a five-year cut-off point from the date of an incident unless there are "exceptional" circumstances.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, says proposing such significant changes must be approved by both Governments and the parties in the Northern Ireland Executive.

“The position of the Government is clear," Mr Coveney said.

"The Stormont House Agreement framework is the way forward on these issues.

"It was agreed by both Governments and the political parties after intensive negotiations, and it must be implemented.

"Only through a collective approach can we hope to deal with these issues comprehensively and fairly, and in a way that responds to the needs of victims and survivors, and society as a whole.

"In terms of the issues the UK Government has raised today about the treatment of British military veterans, our position is again clear.

"There should be effective investigations into all Troubles-related deaths, regardless of the perpetrator.

"We would not support a proposal to introduce any special measure or treatment, regarding the investigation of state or non-state actors in Northern Ireland.

"Victims and survivors have had to wait for far too long for a suitable and effective system in Northern Ireland to deal with the legacy of the Troubles."

Mr Coveney added he would be speaking to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on the issue to discuss next steps.

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