UK government ‘willfully ignores’ victims’ voices – Michelle O’Neill



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The UK government has been accused of “willfully ignoring” the voices of victims in its proposals to deal with Northern Ireland’s troubled past.

Deputy Prime Minister Michelle O’Neill has expressed concern over universal opposition to the plans across political divide in the region.

In July, the government issued a command document outlining its intention to ban prosecutions of ex-combatants and ex-paramilitaries in the future for incidents of unrest that occurred prior to April 1998.

Claiming that the path to criminal justice was not up to the victims, the command document said that a shift to a new model of truth-retrieval would help bereaved families gain information about the deaths of their loved ones. relatives.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis (Steve Parsons / PA)

(PA wire)

The government has yet to release a bill that would give effect to the plan, having previously indicated that it would be tabled in Parliament in the fall.

The proposals are opposed by all major parties in Stormont, the Irish government and many victim groups.

“These proposals, if adopted by law, signal an intention to close the legal avenues of justice and they constitute a real affront to all victims and survivors,” Ms. O’Neill told MPs during questions from the executive board. .

“Denying the truth and justice to families is the desired intent of these proposals, and the UK government’s proposals constitute a major unilateral departure from the Stormont House agreement and are worse than the mechanisms deployed by Pinochet’s military dictatorship in the United States. Chile.

Deputy Prime Minister of Northern Ireland Michelle O’Neill (Liam McBurney / PA)

(PA wire)

“That this British government is deliberately ignoring the voices of the victims and this universal opposition to their amnesty proposals is a source of real concern.

“Without further ado, this UK government should and must withdraw these amnesty proposals and implement the Stormont House agreement in a human rights manner and I will continue to make this point directly to Brandon Lewis. . “

SDLP MP Dolore Kelly asked O’Neill what commitment terrorist organizations have made to “bringing truth, justice and accountability” to their victims.

Sinn Fein Vice President replied: “I think we all have a role to play in terms of political leadership to make sure that we heal the wounds of the past, to understand that we are dealing with a society where wounds have gone. been caused. to a lot of people… I think it’s incumbent on all of us political leaders to work together to heal the wounds of the past, to deal with the past properly, and if the UK government thinks that by pushing it under the rug, that will disappear, it does not.

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