Troubles: Taoiseach & Mary Lou slam British amnesty plan

Micheál Martin has condemned an amnesty proposal by the British government.

Responding to a Tory amnesty plan that would cease all prosecutions of former paramilitary, army and police personnel linked to murders during the Troubles, the Taoiseach has said the proposal is wrong for “many, many reasons”.

“The introduction of what amounts to a general amnesty for all security personnel, and all paramilitaries, for murders and other crimes, up until the Good Friday Agreement is not the right way to go,” Martin said in the Dáil today.

“It’s wrong for many, many reasons…I’ve stated that consistently.

“I don’t believe in a general amnesty for those who committed murder, whether there were State actors, or whether they’re involved in terrorist or illegal organisations.

“We’ve consistently said that at the British Irish Government Council, there was an agreement to continue engagement with all parties and victims groups on these issues.”

Northern Secretary Brandon Lewis told the House of Commons today that the British government planned to discuss legislation pertaining to an amnesty this autumn.

Martin however said the Irish government’s position, which he says is shared with all northern political parties and victim groups, was consistent with that of Stormont House, a 2014 agreement which focused on investigating murders during the Troubles.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said the proposals were an “insult to victims and their families” and would let “British soldiers who went into the streets and gunned down innocent civilians in Derry, Ballymurphy and beyond” off the hook.

“An amnesty for State and non-State actors that acted on behalf and in collusion with the British State,” she said.

“People who always believed that they would never be held to account for their actions, and that the truth behind Britain’s dirty war in Ireland would remain forever hidden by the British state.”

Defending the plan, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “the people of Northern Ireland must, if we possibly can allow them to, move forwards now”.

“The sad fact remains that there are many members of the armed services who continue to face the threat of vexatious prosecutions well into their 70s, 80s and later, and we’re finally bringing forward a solution to this problem, to enable the province of Northern Ireland to draw a line under the Troubles, to enable the people of Northern Ireland to move forward,” he claimed.

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