UK government ‘too dragged its feet’ on inheritance issues – Martin
Micheal Martin has said the UK government has been “too dragging its feet” on inheritance issues in Northern Ireland.
The Irish Prime Minister has again criticized London’s proposals to bar future prosecutions of military veterans and ex-paramilitaries for incidents in The Troubles prior to April 1998.
Mr Martin told The Dail on Wednesday that British soldiers implicated in atrocities such as Bloody Sunday and the Ballymurphy massacre should “be brought to justice”.
It came as Foreign Secretary Simon Coveney promised the Irish government would support a cross-community group of victims of the Troubles by opposing the plans during a meeting with them on Wednesday.
“It would be completely unacceptable, it would be a betrayal of the victims of all violence,” the Taoiseach said of the legacy plans.
“There’s no sense here for a lot of people, a lot of victims, closure, answers in terms of who did what.
“Many, many people feel like they’ve been forgotten or the loss of their loved ones has been completely forgotten, and there’s no balance in how we approach that.
“I believe the UK government has dragged its feet on the legacy too long in my opinion.
“Ten years ago, an agreement was reached between the two governments.
“We believe British soldiers should be brought to justice for atrocities like Bloody Sunday, Ballymurphy and the like.”
Mr Martin raised the issue of collusion and said state forces “were involved with all the paramilitaries”.
He added: “It seems to me that the people who don’t want the closure done, or who don’t want the light on it, are the ones involved in the murder.
“We all agree in this house, we are against inheritance proposals and against the idea of an amnesty. There must be clarity and transparency about what happened.
On Wednesday, Mr Coveney met a cross-community group of victims, including John Teggart – whose father was killed by soldiers in Ballymurphy, Raymond McCord – whose son was killed by loyalists, Eugene Reavey – whose three brothers were been shot by a loyalist. paramilitary gang, and Paula Rainey, who is the father of Joseph, a Catholic RUC sergeant, was shot dead in an attack believed to be carried out by loyalists.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr McCord told the PA news agency: ‘Simon Coveney has made it very clear that he and the Irish government are behind us, our cross-community group, in formally rejecting amnesty proposals. British.
“They will be in talks with the British government. They made them understand that they are not feasible.
Asked about Mr Martin’s comments, he said: ‘I welcome what the Taoiseach has said.
“Anyone who has committed murder, there can be no cover for them, which is what the UK government has tried to do, using these proposals.”
He added: “We went to tell the UK government that we as victims would never accept them (the proposals).
“This is from the victims of the Unionist and Nationalist communities and all political parties in the UK and Ireland except the Conservatives. I believe they will not pass.
Ms Campbell said: ‘Most of us here have been on this road for a very long time. Three of us have over 40 years trying to get justice.
“Many of us have the necessary information. But when we get to the point where we think we’re there, it gets further and further away.
“It is no one other than the UK government that is doing this, so it is very encouraging to hear that Mr Coveney is listening to us and speaking on our behalf.
In July last year, the UK government released a command document outlining its intention to bar future prosecution of military veterans and ex-paramilitaries for incidents in The Troubles prior to April 1998.
The proposals, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson said would allow Northern Ireland to “draw a line under the Troubles”, would also end all inquiries and legacy civil actions.
Responding to the comments, Ms Campbell said: ‘I don’t believe he sought advice or sought a victim’s opinion on this.
“I was 12 when my father was murdered, and it hurts as much now as it did then. I don’t think anyone can put a cost or a value on the impact, or even try to determine the impact of what has happened to all of us.
“It’s not about religion. It’s not about whether we’re Protestant, whether we’re Catholic, who the person was, it’s about loss.
Fine Gael Senator Emer Currie, who helped organize Wednesday’s meeting, said it was essential to put victims at the center of legacy issues.
“I think it’s really important that the victims are at the heart of the legacy. I think that today, once again, it is a question of claiming the position of the victims at the heart of all this and that is certainly the commitment that the minister has made, that he cannot accept these proposals “, she said.
“He is committed to finding a path to truth and justice. But the victims must absolutely be at the heart of it all. It has to be for the victims.