Page last updated at 13:18 GMT, Wednesday, 28 January 2009

NI Troubles legacy to cost 300m

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Lord Eames explains the payments system

Proposals to deal with the legacy of Northern Ireland's Troubles could cost up to 300m, a report has said.

The plans include a 12,000 payment for families of all those killed.

Unionists and some victims' groups have rejected the proposed payment because it would include republican and loyalist paramilitaries.

Protesters temporarily disrupted the launch, including former unionist politician Cedric Wilson and Willie Frazer from victim's group Fair.

Lord Eames, one of the report's authors, said it was time for a "final step out of the conflict by dealing with the legacy of the past".

The 190-page report, which contains more than 30 recommendations, will go to the government for consideration.

The report has been compiled by the Consultative Group on the Past, an independent group set up to deal with the legacy of Northern Ireland's Troubles, during which more than 3,000 people died.

The proposals include a legacy commission which would be led by an international figure.

This commission would take over the work currently carried out by the police ombudsman, which investigates complaints against the police, and the Historical Enquiries Team, a specialist police unit set up to investigate unsolved killings throughout the Troubles.

There were protests as Lord Eames prepared to deliver his report

Speaking at the news conference, Lord Eames, a former Church of Ireland Primate, said their package offered different options.

"We know that one size does not fit all and we are not imposing a one size fits all approach," he said.

"But we are recommending... one package that offers many different options for individuals and communities."

Denis Bradley, who chaired the group with Lord Eames, said the report can address "the calls for justice, the pleas for truth".

"We have heard your pleas and we say you are right," he said.

"And we have proposed the best way that we can construct to deliver justice and truth so that you too can move on."

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he acknowledged that the proposal to include the families of dead paramilitaries in the payments was controversial.

Challenged by DUP MP Nigel Dodds at Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Brown said the government would consider the report with "great care" before making its response.

"I understand why one of the recommendations has provoked such controversy in Northern Ireland," he said.

REPORT FINDINGS

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"I will never forget the innocent victims in Northern Ireland."

The recommendations include:

• An independent Legacy Commission to last five years with a 100m bursary to tackle the tasks of securing reconciliation, justice and information recovery

• Reconciliation Forum to help the Legacy Commission and the existing Commission for Victims and Survivors for Northern Ireland (CVSNI)

• The nearest relative of each person who died in the conflict should receive a 12,000 "recognition payment"

• A new Review and Investigation Unit to replace the police Historical Enquiries Team and the Police Ombudsman's unit dealing with historical cases

• No new public inquiries

• The Group did not propose an amnesty for crimes linked to the conflict, but recommended the Legacy Commission should make proposals on how "a line might be drawn"

• An annual Day of Reflection and Reconciliation and a shared memorial to the conflict

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