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Government Legacy Politics Stormont Westminster

TUV Savage Legacy Bill

Speaking at a Conference in Brownlow House, Lurgan on the Government’s Legacy Bill, TUV leader Jim Allister described the Bill as a shameless charter for the abandonment of justice and the pursuit of justice.

“50 years on from a Conservative Government removing Stormont as a sop to republicans, another such government snatches from the victims of terrorism the last vestige of hope of ever seeing justice for loved ones brutally murdered by the acolytes of those who defend such murder and now wait to rule over us in Stormont. This is not progress, but regress.

“My problems with this Bill start in its very title. NI Troubles Bill. We didn’t pass through mere ‘troubles’ we passed through vicious and murderous terrorist insurrection. “The Troubles” is an anodyne, sanitising downplay of Terrorism. We should always call Terrorism what it is.

“Of course the core obscenity of this Bill is the amnesty and abandonment of all criminal investigations – to which I will return – but it has many other glaring defects.

“Take Clause 15. It governs reviews of deaths by the ICRIR. I’d prefer to call them murders. When such a review is complete a draft of the report for their comments must be given to family members of all persons killed in the incident or anyone seriously harmed. Apply that to a report on the Shankill bomber: the family of bomber Begley and Sean Kelly must – on an equal footing with the families of their innocent victims – see the report for their input!

“Similarly under Clause 23(4) when it comes to collating information for the ‘historical record’, the ICRIR could not request information from Sean Kelly. Again, because he is given equivalence with those he murdered.

“The core obscenity remains the amnesty of Clause 18.

“Yesterday in Germany a 101 year old was sentenced for his Nazi crimes. Today in the U.K. Parliament the government seeks full blown amnesty for IRA and other murderers.

“Why do and should nations pursue lawbreakers in perpetuity? Because, murder is murder and remains murder and by never giving up a government affirms that belief and duty to those murdered and maimed.

“What, on the other hand, does amnesty convey? It signals acceptance that the offence of some murders, namely these terrorist murders, is blunted and gone. In fact it goes further. By granting amnesty and forsaking all criminal investigations the government is actively aiding the terrorist rewrite of history that theirs weren’t really crimes after all.

“What greater aid to the terrorist narrative than the affirmation through amnesty that what they did is no longer something the state wishes to punish! That is the political evil and message at the heart of this Bill. With it comes a most dastardly slight on innocent victims that they mean so little that the state is no longer interested in pursuing their murderers, but rather validates them through amnesty.

“Even within Clause 18 the government makes it as easy as possible for the terrorist to acquire immunity. The limp test of Condition C is that the description given by the terrorist is “true to the best of his knowledge and belief”. No need for it to be the complete truth, the objective truth, partial truth will do, even ‘Provo truth’, because in reality what is told to the ICRIR can be as self-serving as the terrorist wishes.

“Certainly, no remorse, no regret is required. Nor, even, a requirement to identify others involved.

“It’s as easy a one way ticket to amnesty as possible. And once given, immunity can never be revoked.

“Allied to the amnesty of Clause 18 is the staggering repudiation of any further criminal investigations, ever, in Clause 33. From 1 May 2023 “no criminal investigation of any Troubles-related offence may be continued or begun” [Cl 33(1) & (6)]. All OTRs, all murderers, all terrorists are safe. Operation Kenova disappears. 

“Cl 33 amounts to a wholesale general amnesty, rendering the process of even Cl 18 largely meaningless.

“This is a tawdry, despicable, terrorist-pandering Bill which tramples hard over innocent victims in the final insult and sacrilege of their sacrifice.”

ENDS

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