As I write this conclusion, a period of public consultation on ‘Addressing the Legacy of Northern Ireland’s Past’ is ongoing. One of the consultation documents central to this process is the Draft Northern Ireland (Stormont House Agreement) Bill which details the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement (SHA). This agreement, the outcome of lengthy all-party talks at Stormont House in the run-up to Christmas 2014 has been argued to be an important step on the path towards implementing a transitional mechanism for responding to the needs of victims:

It’s the last chance we have for an overarching mechanism for dealing with the past. As you know we’ve had a piecemeal approach to the past. We’ve had four serious attempts to do this: so you had the HTR [Healing Through Remembering] process in 2006 … 2009 you’ve got the Eames-Bradley report, 2013 you’ve got Haass-O’Sullivan, 2014 you’ve got [the SHA], this is the last time. If it doesn’t work this time it’s not going to work … the Stormont House Agreement represents our last chance to do this. If we don’t do it, then we will be left with the status quo ante, in effect where we will have a largely state-centric approach to dealing with the past based on a criminal justice system … a very unsatisfactory process … so this is our last chance. 1

Briefer than its predecessors, the SHA provided the framework for a group of four institutions designed to respond to ‘The Past.’ 2 These are a Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) aimed at providing a prosecutorial route that families can pursue if they so choose, an Independent Commission on Information Retrieval (ICIR) – in essence a truth recovery mechanism, and an Oral History Archive (OHA). An Implementation and Reconciliation Group (IRG) will have a dual role of producing a report on themes and promoting reconciliation. For the purposes of this book, the ICIR is of greatest interest as the SHA states that it will build ‘on the 225precedent provided by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains.’ 3