Page last updated at 07:27 GMT, Monday, 16 February 2009

NI Troubles payment is 'mistake'

Sinn Fein Junior Minister Gerry Kelly speaking on Hardtalk

A plan to give 12,000 to the relatives of all those killed in the Northern Ireland Troubles is a mistake, according to Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly.

The recommendation was made in a report compiled by a group set up to advise on how to deal with the past.

But the report, published by Lord Eames and Denis Bradley last month, sparked anger from some victims' families.

Mr Kelly told the BBC's Hardtalk programme that the proposal had caused too much controversy.

"In fairness to Eames-Bradley, no-one said that it was in compensation or anything like that," said Mr Kelly.

"They said it was in acknowledgement of the suffering across the board. I think personally that it was a mistake.

"It's easy in hindsight to say that, but clearly it was a mistake because it caused so much controversy.

"The real issue is that there has to be truth."

The 190-page report, which contains more than 30 recommendations, is being considered by the government.

But unionists and some victims' groups have rejected the proposed payment because it would include the families of republican and loyalist paramilitaries.

Lord Eames said it was time for a "final step out of the conflict by dealing with the legacy of the past".

Denis Bradley said the report could address "the calls for justice, the pleas for truth".

Hardtalk will be broadcast on Tuesday night on the BBC news channel at 2330 GMT.

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