Dissident suspect was willing to ‘do 15 years’ if it meant a police officer was killed, court hears – The Irish News
“The legislation, as we have seen it to date, amounts to an act of bad faith by London. It bears little resemblance to the proposals outlined in the Stormont House Agreement – Paul O’Connor.
Relatives for Justice and the Pat Finucane Centre spoke out after draft legislation linked to the Stormont House Agreement was leaked this week. Concerns were raised this month by the Committee on the Administration of Justice over plans by the British government to “veto” information in reports by a new body investigating Troubles killings.
Under the agreement a Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) is expected to be set up to replace the defunct police Historical Enquires Team (HET), pictured below to take over some of the work carried out by the Police Ombudsman.
It will investigate unsolved killings and provide reports to families. There are also plans to establish an independent commission on information retrieval for victims and an oral history archive. Concerns have been raised previously about the independence of the planned HIU and some campaigners are worried that former police officers may be employed by it. Concerns have also been raised over plans by the British government to control what information is published through HIU reports on national security grounds. Relatives for Justice director Mark Thompson said his organisation would not back any organisation created by the legislation. “The legislation in no way, shape or form represents the SHA [Stormont House Agreement] document published last December,” he said. “It is a self-serving piece of legislation crafted by the British government that is essentially written through the lens of national security.” Paul O’Conner from the Pat Finucane Centre also said his organisation could not support draft legislation. “The legislation, as we have seen it to date, amounts to an act of bad faith by London. “It bears little resemblance to the proposals outlined in the SHA,” he said.
“There are major concerns regarding the criteria for cases to be re-examined, so-called national security caveats and other concerns too numerous to outline.” Sinn Féin (Shame Fein) MLA Gerry (The Mouth) Kelly has also claimed that the British government’s proposals were “unacceptable” and a “clear breach of the Stormont House Agreement”.
With many thanks to: Connla Young, for the origional story, The Irish News.
THE ongoing political talks will be successful “against the odds”, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness told a meeting of his party last night.
He said the devolved institutions “are worth saving and I believe the vast majority of people share that view”. But he said the parties must agree to protect the most vulnerable and ensure Stormont (the big house on the hill) has “a workable budget so that public services are delivered to the standard the public expect and deserve”. The deputy first minister also called on the British government to accept they are part of the negotiations and are “not some kind of neutral arbitrator”. He also hit out at the government’s legislation on dealing with the legacy of the Troubles and said it is “in clear breach of the Stormont House Agreement”.
“The legislation proposed by Theresa Villiers and her cabinet colleagues has more to do with covering up the role of the British state as a central player in the conflict and its collusion with unionist death squads,” he said. He said that the executive had succeeded in blocking the worst of the Conservative government’s cuts, including the introduction of water charges. He said lower student fees, free prescriptions and lower rates bills were “rarely highlighted successes of the executive and local parties working together”. The Mid Ulster assembly member warned that a return to direct rule will result in an “unrestrained onslaught on public services and the most vulnerable in our society”. Ms Villiers repeatedly warned that if the parties cannot agree a deal on welfare reforms, the British government will take back welfare powers as a “last resort”. Mr McGuinness said as well as welfare cuts previously announced, new cuts to tax credits in April will affect 120,000 families in the north.
<strong>With many thanks to: Claire Simpson, for the origional story, The Irish News.