“Baroness Nuala O’Loan is one of the bright, shining lights in Ireland, north and south. …”

Posted By: May 15, 2023



Distributed to Congress by Irish National Caucus


“Baroness Nuala O’Loan is one of the bright, shining lights in Ireland, north and south. The attached BBC article on her is important reading for Congress.

She was the first Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (1999-2007). In 2007, she published Operation Ballast—a devastating expose of collusion by British police and intelligence services in the brutal 1997 assassination of Raymond McCord, Jr., a Belfast Protestant who had proudly worn the uniform of the Royal Air Force.

Raymond Jr.’s campaigning father, the now famous Raymond, Sr. has said that Operation Ballast and the 2009 Congressional Hearing the Irish National Caucus helped him to get were the two biggest boosts he has been given in his long, extraordinary, and courageous campaign for his son, and all victims.”—Fr. Sean McManus.

Legacy bill “not fit for purpose”- Baroness O’Loan

Baroness Nuala O’Loan said she intends to “come back with some form of challenge” to the bill

BBC NI. Belfast. Monday, May 15, 2023.

A former police ombudsman for Northern Ireland has said controversial new legislation for dealing with Troubles legacy issues is “not fit for purpose”.

The bill offers a conditional amnesty to those accused of killings and other Troubles-related crimes.

Baroness O’Loan told BBC News NI’s Sunday Politics there had not been any significant amendments made to the bill during committee stage.

The legislation is on course to pass into law before summer.

Last week, Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris told the Commons the government had been on a journey to improve the bill “dramatically”.

He added some “game-changing” amendments would be tabled in the coming weeks.

The bill has been criticized by victims’ groups, the Irish government, and political parties at Stormont.

It introduces conditional amnesties to perpetrators of Troubles-related crimes if they cooperate with a new truth recovery body known as the Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery (ICRIR).

Baroness O’Loan said she cannot understand why Mr. Heaton-Harris did not bring any changes to the bill last week.

“He had the opportunity to bring amendments since we started the bill last November,” she said.

“There’s been nothing game-changing, nothing significant. And I haven’t seen anything that suggests there will be.

“I hope it will change dramatically, but I think the bill is not fit for purpose.”

“Stop it where it is.” Baroness O’Loan said in order for the bill to be “game-changing” it has to bring back the right to civil actions, the right to prosecute, and the right to inquests.

The former ombudsman added she does not think the bill is legally compliant and is “not going to deliver reconciliation”.

“People who have been involved in the conflict can seek immunity for their crimes by telling something, but those provisions will not work in the interests of victims,” Baroness O’Loan said.

Sir Declan Morgan, a former Lord Chief Justice for Northern Ireland, has been selected to head the ICRIR – an appointment that Baroness O’Loan said should not have happened before the bill was passed.

Having previously paused an amendment she had brought forward, Baroness O’Loan said she intended to “come back with some form of challenge to the bill”.

“My view is that once the bill is passed, it’s much harder to start dismantling something which is in place,” she said.

“So why not stop it where it is? And this is what we need to do.”

The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill will progress to report stage before its third reading in the House of Lords.