Ulster Unionist Victims spokesperson, Mike Nesbitt, says the failure to agree terms for a public inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane is another example of the fact that there is no agreed mechanism for dealing with Northern Ireland's troubled past.
The Strangford MLA said: "Like any family who lost a loved one, the Finucanes want the truth surrounding the circumstances of the killing. In this case, what we have had for a number of years is a stand-off between the family and the Government over whether a public enquiry would be held under the terms of the 2005 Inquiries Act. The Government wanted it that way, the family did not, and the legal bill reached several millions pounds as the disagreement was acted out between the two legal teams.
"I accept the family are left deeply frustrated by today's decision, but it was right to reach a decision and stop the costly impasse. It is also time to call time out on the incomplete, imperfect and imbalanced series of initiatives that we currently deploy to deal with our past. What we need is an agreed mechanism, rather than a series of processes that serve to re-write history, painting the state and the agents of the state as the villains.
"Currently, I see no prospect of finding a mechanism where everyone feels empowered to tell the truth about what they did during the last 40 years. In the absence of that, we operate a very uneven playing field where the great majority of victims see all the focus and resource dedicated to a very few high profile victims, and even they often end up feeling dissatisfied with what they get.
"Ultimately, it is a question of trust, and clearly, trust, like truth, is in short supply."