SDLP Deputy Leader Nichola Mallon has said that political leaders have an opportunity to come together and unequivocally oppose the British Government’s proposal for an amnesty for those involved in troubles-related crimes.
The Assembly is being recalled from its summer recess following a petition from the SDLP to oppose the plans announced by Secretary of State Brandon Lewis last week.
The North Belfast MLA said:
“Political leaders have an opportunity to send a clear message to Boris Johnson and Brandon Lewis when the Assembly is recalled tomorrow. There cannot be any type of amnesty and every party needs to express that. The last time an amnesty for those involved in the most serious crimes was proposed, it was the SDLP who called it out and derailed the plans at Westminster. We are determined to stand by victims again.
“The proposed amnesty announced last week was a crushing blow for victims, many who have spent years campaigning to find out the exact circumstances behind the deaths of their loved ones. The arrogant announcement from the British Government which Boris Johnson said would ‘draw a line under the Troubles’, has in fact done the exact opposite. These plans have retraumatised victims and forced them to go through the pain of losing their loved one all over again.
“It has been absolutely heartbreaking listening to victims sharing their stories again this past week. There are few families in the North untouched by the conflict. While the British Government wants to sweep it under the carpet and consign it all to history, the pain felt by victims is still as raw today as it was 40 years ago. That is why the Assembly must send an unequivocal message of opposition to these plans. There can be no amnesty, there can be nowhere to hide. The British Government cannot be allowed to decide who deserves justice and on what terms. They cannot be allowed to extinguish victims' hopes.”