Former police ombudsman Nuala O’Loan has referred to as the British Government’s proposals for a so-called amnesty in Northern Ireland “unacceptable” and a “denial of the rule of law”.
She mentioned the plans for a statute of limitations have been a denial of justice.
Ms O’Loan was talking at a cross-community occasion, the place a gaggle of Troubles victims mentioned the Government’s legacy proposals.
She mentioned the proposals got here as a “an extraordinary and terrible shock” to the folks of Northern Ireland.
“They came in direct contradiction to all the promises which they have made,” she added.
“The proposals which we had for coping with the previous weren’t satisfactory, however they have been one thing, they usually did embrace investigation and the potential of prosecution.
“What seems to have happened is that the Government have bowed to a small but very powerful constituency, which had been lobbying for an end to all Troubles-related investigations.”
She added: “The Government’s proposals are unacceptable. The first is that they’re a denial of the rule of regulation.
“They contradict all the things we now have taught the world about justice and reality and felony process.
“The second is that the victims’ considerations will not be addressed in any respect within the proposals, regardless of the assertions of presidency.
“Amnesty is a denial of justice and it’s improper. The victims have been additionally not consulted.
“This proposal, which will take away all legal rights from all the victims in Northern Ireland and elsewhere of the Troubles, has never been subject to normal consultation.”
In July, Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis introduced plans for a statute of limitations which might finish all prosecutions for Troubles incidents as much as April 1998, and would apply to army veterans in addition to ex-paramilitaries.
The proposals, which prime minister Boris Johnson has beforehand mentioned would permit Northern Ireland to “draw a line under the Troubles”, would additionally finish all legacy inquests and civil actions associated to the battle.
Raymond McCord, whose son was killed by loyalists, was amongst these to talk on the occasion.
“Boris Johnson tells us it’ll help us move on. I want to know, move on from what?” Mr McCord mentioned.
“I have no answer for that. He hasn’t told us what we’re moving on from and what we’re going to move on to. It’s the words of a fool and the words of man who is afraid of the truth. We aren’t scared of it.”
Julie Hambleton, whose sister was killed within the IRA’s 1974 bomb assault in Birmingham, mentioned: “I imagine we have to unravel republican, loyalist and state collusion, which we now know ran so deep through the battle and continues to run deeper than we ever thought.
“Grievances will solely proceed if victims are denied reality and justice and accountability. This wasn’t a unclean battle, this was a poisonous battle, battle, terrorist marketing campaign.
“Those in government are hell bent on protecting their positions at all costs. Amnesia versus accountability. What will it be?”
Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan was killed within the Omagh bombing, mentioned: “Boris Johnson says this new invoice will enhance group relations and break down limitations. Well the folks on this panel, we don’t want to interrupt down the limitations, we’ve damaged them down ourselves.
“We come from different backgrounds. We don’t always agree but what we do agree is that the government needs to be held to account for what happened.”
Eugene Reavey, whose brothers John Martin, Brian and Anthony have been shot lifeless by the loyalist paramilitary Glenanne Gang in 1976, mentioned the amnesty is “a scandal”.
“We have been fighting this case for years and years and years,” he mentioned.
“If there’s not going to be any justice, I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Sarah McKeegan, whose police officer father was killed, mentioned: “Boris Johnson is true in stating that the present deal with felony justice just isn’t working, however he’s most disingenuous in how he proposes to handle it.
“I don’t believe any new plans for truth and recovery process will be in any way victim-centred. How can only truths be known when the state are hiding behind public interest immunity certificates.”
Billy McManus, whose father was killed within the loyalist assault on Sean Graham bookmakers in Belfast in 1992, mentioned: “This amnesty is nothing however hiding the reality.
“British troopers, RUC officers, UDR, harmless folks on either side they usually need an amnesty. Ask your self why.
“The British Government has the blood of murder on their hands and they want to wash it away with an amnesty.”
Kate Nash, whose brother William was killed on Bloody Sunday, mentioned: “I’ll by no means settle for an amnesty. Not for troopers, not for IRA, not for UVF, or whoever.
“You can not put folks above the regulation. You can’t have harmless folks murdered.
“The state should have a higher standard and I think you would hold them to a higher standard. They have got to be made accountable for what they did in this country.”
John Teggart, whose father died within the Ballymurphy bloodbath, mentioned: “Murder should be investigated. The legal system should be used in every way. We can’t have a government that change the laws.” – PA