Eastwood calls for opening of reclassified Troubles files

Thu, 25/06/2020 - 12:35 -- Editor

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood has called on the Northern Ireland Secretary of State to review victims’ files which have been recently reclassified and will be closed for another 30+ years.  

During the Northern Ireland Office Questions on Wednesday, The MP for Foyle said: “ Paul Whitters aged 15 was killed in Derry. Julie Livingstone aged 14 was killed in Belfast. Both were killed with plastic bullets.

“The files relating to their deaths have been reclassified and withheld until 2059 and 2064 respectively.

“There is no good reason to keep these files closed. Will he [ Brandon Lewis, NI Secretary of State] now act to allow the families of those children to see the files?

In an earlier letter to the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Colum Eastwood MP said: “ Vital to moving the North forward is trying to fully understand our past. This has been incredibly difficult by the review of files relating to cases throughout the Troubles, the reviews of which have resulted in files remaining close for decades more than was previously understood.

“Reclassifying files, specifically in the cases of Paul Whitters and Julie Livingston is a disgrace and an abrogation of duty on the British Government’s role in fostering reconciliation.”

“Families should not be forced to pursue Freedom of Information requests for this information or lengthy legal proceedings. No determination can warrant withholding the truth.”