The Secretary of State has been asked by Ulster Human Rights Watch (UHRW) to provide urgent clarification on the status of the Stormont House Agreement following comments he made in Dublin.

A key part of the draft legislation on the Stormont House Agreement concerns a range of controversial legacy matters and a consultation is currently underway on a Victims’ Payments Scheme.

However, the Secretary of State, Julian Smith, was quoted in the press as saying that the British Government was ‘dedicated to the Stormont House Agreement’. He added that they were talking at the moment about how ‘to ensure the Stormont House Agreement is implemented in full.”

Ulster Human Rights Watch Advocacy Manager, Axel Schmidt, has asked if the 2014 Stormont House Agreement was a done deal, then why were people being asked to respond to a public consultation.

Mr Schmidt said: “Mr Smith must shine a light on what is actually going on. If the Government is committed to the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement, we must ask why the pretence of listening to the views of our organisation and others who represent innocent victims and survivors of terrorism.

“If this is a sham exercise, and the Stormont House Agreement is as good as a done deal, the government stands accused of pulling the wool over our eyes. Is Mr Smith closed to our views and concerns? Is he deaf to the legitimate objections to a range of proposed legacy measures such as a Historical Investigations Unit, the really awful ‘non-criminal police misconduct’ or ‘collusion by another name and an oral history archive which will assist the terrorists of yesteryear to re-write the past?

“Mr Smith owes us all an explanation. I have today written to him seeking clarification or confirmation that we are, indeed, now wasting our time preparing formal responses.”