Tuesday 17 May 2022 08:49 PM 'Whitewash' of killings in NI Troubles will not bring reconciliation, victim's ... trends now

Tuesday 17 May 2022 08:49 PM 'Whitewash' of killings in NI Troubles will not bring reconciliation, victim's ... trends now
Tuesday 17 May 2022 08:49 PM 'Whitewash' of killings in NI Troubles will not bring reconciliation, victim's ... trends now

Tuesday 17 May 2022 08:49 PM 'Whitewash' of killings in NI Troubles will not bring reconciliation, victim's ... trends now

Veterans have welcomed new legislation which would grant immunity to those who fought in Northern Ireland during the Troubles while campaigners have slammed it as a 'whitewash'.

The Government has announced plans to put in place a 'investigations and information recovery process' to provide answers for families, deliver on commitments made in its 2019 manifesto to those who served in Northern Ireland.

The legislation will see immunity granted to those who served during the Troubles if they cooperate with the Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery (ICRIR).

The new body aims to help individuals and family members to seek and receive information about Troubles-related deaths and serious injuries.

It is also designed to produce an historical record of what is known in relation to every death that occurred during the Troubles.

The proposals, introduced as a bill in the Commons by Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis, leave open the route of prosecution if individuals are not deemed to have earned their immunity.

Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis described the Troubles as 'a very difficult area' as he introduced legislation today that will grant immunity to those who served in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis described the Troubles as 'a very difficult area' as he introduced legislation today that will grant immunity to those who served in Northern Ireland

Veterans have welcomed the legislation - formally known as the North Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill - which had its first reading in the Commons today.

Johnny Mercer, Conservative MP and veterans champion, shared the news, tweeting: 'Brandon deserves huge credit on this.

'Seldom have I given a fellow minister such a hard time. But he was big enough to reach out in January and we've worked on it since.. it's good legislation.'

Mr Mercer, who has long campaigned against the prosecution of Northern Ireland veterans, referenced the case of Dennis Hutchings who died from Covid while on trial in Belfast over a shooting in 1974 last year. 

Northern Ireland Veterans Movement spokesman Paul Young told the News Letter: 'It is not what everybody wants but it is as close as we are going to get.

'It sounds like it does what we have been campaigning for for the last number of years, and that is to stop the prosecutions – to take them away from Northern Ireland.'

Veteran and Tory MP Johnny Mercer (pictured) who has long campaigned for the end of proseuctions against Northern Ireland veterans described the bill as 'good legislation'

Veteran and Tory MP Johnny Mercer (pictured) who has long campaigned for the end of proseuctions against Northern Ireland veterans described the bill as 'good legislation'

In a statement, Danny Kinahan, Northern Ireland's Veterans Minister, described the legislation as 'a step in the right direction'.

He added: 'I acknowledge the great pain and trauma of losing loved ones, living with life changing injuries and indeed living in a constant fear for your life, for which some affected may never be able to reconcile.

'Through this legislation we must look at how we can best support families to obtain the answers to the questions they are longing for, in the hope that some degree of understanding might one day be achieved.'

However campaigners and victims' families have described the plans as 'whitewashing' while Sinn Fein has accused the Government of attempting to cover up Britain's actions in the conflict.

Raymond McCord,

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