SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MP has urged the Irish Government to take legal action against the British Government’s legacy legislation after it passed in the House of Commons this afternoon.
Mr Eastwood said that the names of victims and survivors who have been denied access to truth and justice should ring in the ears of MPs who supported the bill.
Speaking from Westminster today, Colum Eastwood MP said:
“I have never been so angry or ashamed at a decision taken by a legislature on these islands. The House of Commons has today given its support to an unconscionable effort to end pathways to truth and justice for victims and survivors of the most heinous atrocities of the last fifty years in Ireland and Britain. The names of those who have lost loved ones, family and friends should ring in the ears of every MP who supported this appalling bill.
“This legislation represents the most sinister attempt by dark forces in the security apparatus of the British State and paramilitary gangs to close down any avenue to truth or accountability. It promotes the interests of killers and thugs above the needs of the victims of their crimes. And it has given a retrospective license for murder on the streets of Belfast, Derry, Newry, London and many other places over the period of conflict of the last fifty years.
“The legacy bill is an affront to the Article 2 rights of people across these islands, some of whom have never even had the courtesy of a police officer call to their door never mind investigate the circumstances of their loved ones deaths. Every independent expert agrees, every victim’s group agrees, every political party in Northern Ireland agrees.
“There is now, I believe, a moral obligation on the Irish Government to step up and step in with legal action. The British Government doesn’t care about the rights of victims but the international human rights standards that we all enjoy must be defended.
“This is not the end of the road on this issue. The SDLP will continue to use every mechanism open to us to resist the interests of paramilitary gangs and criminals acting under the banner of the state. The needs of victims and survivors remain paramount to us.”