Cruel and callous legacy bill will prolong the cover-ups – Gerry Kelly

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly has said the British government should end the fiction that its cruel and callous legacy bill does anything to promote reconciliation.

Speaking after British Secretary of State Chris Heaton Harris said the Tory government will proceed with the fundamentally flawed bill, Gerry Kelly said, “The British Government, should scrap its flawed Legacy Bill and end the fiction that it can contribute anything to reconciliation.

“The reality is that this bill is about prolonging state cover-ups and denying truth to families about the deaths of their loved ones.

“Some of those families have been waiting for truth and justice for more than 50 years and this bill which will deny families access to the courts is cruel, callous and in breach of international law and international human rights standards.

“This reckless legislation is being rushed through and ignores opposition from victims and families, all the political parties on the island of Ireland, human rights experts, the UN, as well as officials in the US and EU.

“The British government should scrap this legislation and get on with implementing the legacy mechanisms agreed at Stormont House by the two governments and political parties in 2014 in a human rights’ compliant manner.”

The Pat Finucane Center released a statement which reads in part, “The House of Commons voted to reject the Lords’ proposed amendments to the Legacy Bill, including the controversial amnesty clause. The Bill will now go to the Lords before it becomes law. It is not clear if this can or will happen very quickly in the next week, or will be delayed until September. BBC are reporting it will likely be September.

The Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery (ICRIR) is still, however, on track to commence work on 1 May 2024, with current mechanisms (PSNI Legacy Investigation Branch (LIB), inquests, Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (OPONI) investigations) ceasing operations. Emmett McConomy, brother of 11 yr old Stephen, shot dead by a British soldier in 1982, was interviewed about the Bill on BBC news and UTV this evening.

Tomorrow morning PFC’s Sara Duddy will be on Radio Foyle with Johnny LOughrey, whose father Jim was murdered at his home in Greysteel in 1976. The family are awaiting an investigation into the murder by the Police Ombudsman- if/when the Bill passes, this investigation will not happen and the case will be moved to the ICRIR.”

Relatives for Justice commented, “We have one message tonight. We are NEVER GIVING UP.”

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