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The Department of An Taoiseach Alamy Stock Photo
Northern Ireland

Taoiseach to meet cross-community group of Troubles victims over opposition to legacy plans

Campaigners are opposting proposed amnesty for Troubles offences.

A CROSS-COMMUNITY GROUP of Troubles victims is to meet the Taoiseach to outline their opposition to the British Government’s legacy proposals.

The Truth and Justice Movement will travel to Dublin on Thursday to garner support from Micheál Martin.

The group of victims, including Michael Gallagher, Raymond McCord, Kate Nash and Cathy McIlvenny, also plan to meet a cross-party group of politicians, including the chair of the Seanad, senator Mark Daly.

Campaigners are strongly opposing proposed amnesty for Troubles offences.

Raymond McCord, from the Truth and Justice Movement, said they are seeking support from the Irish government.

“Our focus is the British government’s shameful amnesty proposals,” he said.

“We have the support of every major party, except the Tories, in Ireland and the UK in rejecting the proposals.

“Thirty-six members of Congress in Washington have also rejected the proposals and we welcome their support.

“[Prime Minister] Boris Johnson and [Secretary of State] Brandon Lewis falsely claim the proposals of giving amnesties to murderers will help reconciliation.

“Let’s make this crystal clear – we don’t need to be reconciled as we were never enemies and we come to Dublin as one, with two members from the unionist community and two from the nationalist community, who are long-time friends supporting each other, as many other victims do.”

He said that politicians north and south of the border have been supportive of abolishing the proposals.

“If our meeting with the Taoiseach is as successful as our recent meeting with Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney, it will be another nail in the coffin of the amnesty proposals.

“We do not need to convince the Taoiseach these amnesty proposals are wrong, he knows that himself.

“Both meetings are very important and we thank the politicians and the Taoiseach for meeting us, especially after listening to the Taoiseach’s words clearly rejecting the proposals at the Bloody Sunday 50th anniversary event.

“Our group comes from both communities but in reality we come from only one community, the truth and justice community.

“Not one victim believes these ‘hide the truth’ proposals are for their benefit. They are simply to cover up elements of the British government’s security forces, agencies and agents’ involvement in countless murders.

“These proposals, which would deny justice to thousands, must be stopped to ensure that no one is above the law, irrespective if they do or do not wear a uniform.”

There has been widespread opposition to the plans to ban future prosecutions of military veterans and ex-paramilitaries for Troubles incidents predating April 1998.

Similarly, academics have described UK government plans to commission an ‘official’ history of the Troubles as an “almost impossible” task.

The history would reportedly start in the 1960s and end in 1998 with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

The plans were to be part of the wider package of legacy proposals.

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