Governments need to be involved with deal on past, says Eames

Effort needed to resolve NI impasse to safeguard peace process from ‘eruptions’

Lord Robin Eames: Joint report urged establishment of legacy commission. Photographer: Dara MacDónaill

Lord Robin Eames: Joint report urged establishment of legacy commission. Photographer: Dara MacDónaill

Fri, May 9, 2014, 01:02


The Irish and British governments need to become directly involved in efforts to reach an agreement on dealing with Northern Ireland’s past, former Church of Ireland archbishop of Armagh Lord Robin Eames has said.

Expressing pessimism, Lord Eames said people were not ready in 2009 for the solutions advanced in the report he authored with Denis Bradley, which fell over anger at its suggestion that victims should get a £12,000 payment.

“Today, there is no sign of the political will necessary. A lot of people are getting impatient that they will ever find a solution. But you will never get it unless there is a political will to grasp the nettle,” he said.

Nevertheless, he said he believed there is now at least “an awareness” that Northern Ireland will suffer “eruptions”, unless some rules are agreed.

Six years ago, the Eames-Bradley report recommended establishing a legacy commission.

“Dublin, London and Belfast need to go into a new process of heart searching. That is a prerequisite for any political solution . . . there is no solution that will please everybody,” said Lord Eames.

The British government has disengaged from NI in recent years, believing that the difficulties “were over”. But he said he believed the Irish Government is prepared to play a greater role in encouraging NI’s political parties to return to the talks led by US diplomat Richard Haass that collapsed over Christmas.