Anger at proposed Troubles amnesty for army

Posted By: November 22, 2017


Distributed by Irish National Caucus
John Manley. Irish News. Belfast. Wednesday, November 22, 2017

NATIONALISTS reacted with anger last night to a proposal to grant an amnesty to British armed forces for offenses during the Troubles.

The statute of limitations suggestion is expected to form part of the forthcoming public consultation on potential mechanisms for dealing with the past.

The controversial move came to light yesterday as Sinn Féin met Theresa May in Downing Street.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams accused the British government of an “act of bad faith” and said the proposal was unacceptable.

It was also rejected by the Irish government, the SDLP, and the Alliance party.

The Ulster Unionists objected to the idea, claiming it would lead to a blanket amnesty for all Troubles offenses.

A spokesman for the Republic’s Department of Foreign Affairs said: “There are no amnesties from prosecution provided for in the Good Friday Agreement or any subsequent agreements including the Stormont House Agreement.

“The [Irish] government has been clear that it would not look favorably on any proposal to introduce such a measure, for state or non-state actors.”

SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly said: “The British government cannot legislate for any amnesty for British armed forces or any other violent perpetrators.

“Victims and survivors of the Troubles deserve truth and justice – the British state and others must deliver that justice,” she said.

Alliance leader Naomi Long said: “Justice and the rule of law cannot be adjusted to make people differently accountable for their actions.

“In all cases, we should follow the evidence to wherever that leads.”

The prospects for the return of a Stormont government also looked bleak yesterday with the DUP and Sinn Féin clashing on the “glorification of terrorism” at the Sinn Féin ard fheis.

DUP leader Arlene Foster also criticised Taoiseach Leo Varadkar for “playing around” with Northern Ireland over Brexit.

Former US special envoy Richard Haass warned that Northern Ireland was “at a crisis point” and cautioned against violence.

“[It’s] the result of poor leadership, Brexit and a failure to deal with the past,” he tweeted.

“Agree that the current impasse likely to lead to a restructuring of its politics and/or push for Irish unification – hoping it does not lead to any resumption of violence.”