Families protest over proposed statute of limitations for Troubles killings

Posted By: November 28, 2017

Siobhan Fenton.Irish News. Belfast. Tuesday, November 28, 2017

FAMILIES of victims and survivors of atrocities in the Troubles have held a protest outside Stormont to show their opposition to a proposed statute of limitations for killings in the conflict.

Relatives of people killed at Loughinisland, Ballymurphy and McGurk’s Bar were among those at the rally.

Many held placards stating “No limitations on truth” and “Justice delayed is justice denied,” while others carried banners with photos of their relatives.

Attending the protest, Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said: “People are very, very angry about this. If you think about it, some of these inquests have taken 45 years to get anywhere near getting the truth.

“They [families] want the truth and state forces acted with impunity. It’s a slap in the face to those who have lost loved ones over a long period.”

Last week, it emerged that a public consultation into legacy issues including unsolved murders from the Troubles will include a controversial suggestion of an amnesty for some perpetrators.

Sinn Féin has criticized the proposal, saying it has been included by the UK government without informing the local parties and could amount to an amnesty for state forces, including soldiers.

DUP leader Arlene Foster has also expressed concerns about the proposal being included in the consultation, warning that an amnesty for state forces could be extended to other perpetrators, including paramilitary groups.

Ms. Foster said: “We have to be very careful that you don’t end up in a situation where you end up giving an amnesty, by the back door, to people who committed some of the most heinous crimes anywhere.”

The DUP and several backbench Conservative MPs have previously raised concerns that recent investigations into killings during the Troubles have unfairly focused on soldiers and other state forces.

Director of Public Prosecutions, Barra McGrory, has denied the accusations, insisting that his department considers each case on its own merits.

In January, Mr. McGrory said he was “mystified” by claims of a “witch hunt” against soldiers, saying: “In the overall context of what we do, these are a tiny number of cases.”