SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MP has described the conclusion of an Inquest into the killing mother of six Kathleen Thompson in Derry in November 1971 as a ‘clear vindication’ of her family’s long fight for justice.
The Foyle MP said that the verdict today is a damning indictment of the British Government’s immoral approach to legacy inquests and investigations which would see these routes to truth and justice shut down for other families.
Speaking from Westminster where he will take part in a debate on the Legacy Bill this afternoon, the SDLP Leader said:
“Kathleen Thompson’s family have been fighting for truth and justice since the moment that Soldier D shot and killed their mother in November 1971. The truth about what happened to a mother of six in the back garden of her own home was delayed for more than 50 years by the institutions of the state but it could never be denied to those who loved Kathleen. They have taken on the full might of the British Government and today, at long last, they have been vindicated.
“Today in the House of Commons, the Secretary of State will make the flawed case for new legislation which would have denied justice to the Thompson family forever. Brandon Lewis will seek support for an end to legacy inquests and investigations, pulling down the shutters on other families desperate to know what happened to their loved ones. This verdict isn’t just a hard-fought vindication for the Thompson family, it is the clearest possible demonstration that the path taken by Brandon Lewis is immoral, unjustifiable and will allow those who committed heinous crimes against people in Ireland to get away with it.
“Kathleen Thompson’s family shouldn’t have been forced to fight for truth for more than half a century. But in the emotion of this day, I hope they feel some sense of pride that they have done their mother proud. They have certainly done the city of Derry proud. The proper response from the government now would be to withdraw their flawed legislation and listen to the voices of victims who will never support this.”