‘We will stand with families in their continued fight for truth and justice’ – Finucane

Sinn Féin MP John Finucane has said heartbroken families will continue to challenge the shameful Legacy Act at every turn and called on the British Government to repeal it. 

Speaking at a demonstration in Belfast today, the North Belfast MP said, “For years victims and families have raised their concerns time and again about the British government’s shameful Legacy Act.

“Human rights experts, churches, the US, UN, EU, the Irish government and all main political parties on this island have opposed this cynical and cruel piece of legislation.

“These calls have fallen on deaf ears in British government circles and they have instead railroaded through this disgraceful legislation against all wishes.

“And since this legislation was first introduced we have seen a consistent and ongoing trend of state bodies ‘running down the clock’, as well as state interference in inquests and investigations to hide information from families.

“It is essential in any democracy that judicial processes are free to carry out their duties independently, free from state interference.

“It’s clear this act was designed to cover up the British government’s shameful actions in Ireland.

“To protect their soldiers and agents, block the rights of families and halt any legal processes.

“The shutting down of legacy inquests and investigations have a very real and human impact on families.

“Heartbroken families have been fighting for years, determined to get the truth and justice for their loved ones.

“This new law will deliberately inflict pain to protect the selfish interests of the British government and their state bodies.

“It will undermine the rule of law, cover up the truth and deny justice to victims and families.

“But make no mistake, this does not represent the end.

“Courts have already ruled that part of this legislation is unlawful with further examinations to take place, heading all the way to the Supreme Court.

“The Irish government’s interstate case is a welcome step for victims and families in challenging the act. Families should not have been forced to take individual legal actions against this act, and this action by the Irish government will now complement these challenges.

“I also welcome comments from the British Shadow Secretary of State that he intends to ‘repeal and replace’ the Legacy Act if Labour are elected at the next British General Election.

“The legacy mechanisms agreed at Stormont House by the two governments and political parties in 2014 should be implemented in a human rights’ compliant manner.

“Families will not give up in their dignified campaign for truth and justice, and this energy will always endure.

“Sinn Féin stands with these families, now and in the future in their continued fight for their loved ones.”

Fourteen inquests which were commenced but did not reach findings stage before the 1 May 2024 deadline are impacted by the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Act 2023 (” the Legacy Act”). These are:

(1) John Moran 

(2) Kevin & John McKearney 

(3) Charles & Teresa Fox 

(4) Fergal McCusker 

(5) Samuel Marshall 

(6) Sean Brown 

(7) Liam Thompson 

(8) Seamus Dillon 

(9) Patrick Duffy 

(10) Raymond McCord 

(11) Terence McDaid & Gerard Slane 

(12) Alexander Patterson 

(13) Stalker/Sampson 

(14) Loughgall

Four inquests from the original five-year plan which had not yet been allocated to a coroner are impacted by the Legacy Act. These are: 

(1) Patrick McVeigh 

(2) Daniel Rooney 

(3) Elizabeth McDonald & John McGleenon 

(4) Gerard Casey

Seventeen new inquest referrals from the Attorney General are impacted by the Legacy Act. These are:

(1) The New Lodge Six (Ambrose Hardy, James McCann, James Sloan, Anthony Campbell, Brendan Maguire and John Loughran) 

(2) Thomas Burns 

(3) Cpl James Elliott 

(4) Patrick Joseph Kelly 

5) Robert David Anderson 

(6) Phelim McNally, Thomas Casey, Sean Anderson, Dwayne O’Donnell, Thomas Armstrong 

(7) lan Sproule 

(8) Martha Campbell 

(9) Bridget Foster 

(10) James Edward Murphy 

(11) John Quinn & Malcolm Nugent 

(12) Liam Ryan 

(13) James Bell 

(14) Edward & Sarah Keenan 

(15) Joseph McCann 

(16) Annette McGavigan 

(17) McGurks Bar (Edward Kane, Kathleen Irvine, James Smyth, Robert Spotswood, James Cromie, Philomena McGurk, Maria McGurk and Francis Bradley).