Thursday 20 October 2016

Nesbitt 'shares concerns of Troubles families' over fresh Stormont deal

Published 08/01/2016 | 16:26

Actor James Nesbitt has said he shares concerns voiced by bereaved families of the Troubles that the latest political deal struck at Stormont has let down victims.

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The Coleraine-born star was awarded an OBE in the New Year's Honours list, in part for his charity work with those impacted by the conflict.

Last November's Fresh Start agreement between Stormont's leaders and the UK and Irish governments resolved a number of wrangles besetting the power-sharing administration in Belfast, but notably did not find consensus on legacy issues.

New mechanisms for tackling the past had been agreed by politicians in late 2014 - in the Stormont House Agreement - but they have since been derailed by a row between Sinn Fein and the UK Government.

The root of the impasse is the Government's insistence on retaining a veto, on national security grounds, over disclosing certain historic documents on Troubles killings.

The Fresh Start deal has been heavily criticised by a number of victims.

Nesbitt, in an interview to be broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster's Sunday News programme, was asked if he shared the concerns expressed the families. "Very much so," he replied.

Nesbitt added: "You cannot move on without fully addressing what is clearly the ongoing and indelible legacy of the past and really looking after the people who have suffered and are still suffering."

"These are real people who continue to be impacted, and [the trauma] is passing on to their family members."

The Missing star, who is a patron of victims support group the WAVE Trauma Centre, was awarded the OBE for services to drama and to Northern Ireland.

"For services to acting, that's great," he said in the interview.

"But I've been very lucky in my acting career - there are plenty of actors more able than me.

"What was more important to me was the mention of services to the community in Northern Ireland.

"Because of the lucky nature of my success, I've had the opportunity to do quite a lot in Northern Ireland, which is a duty, but also a real privilege.

"So if this brings more awareness to the ongoing work WAVE is doing, then I'm thrilled."

Press Association

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