UK government ‘too dragged its feet’ on inheritance issues – Martin
Micheál Martin has said the UK government has been “too dragging its feet” on inheritance issues in Northern Ireland.
The Taoiseach again criticized London’s proposals to bar future prosecution of military veterans and ex-paramilitaries for incidents in The Troubles before April 1998.
Mr Martin told the Dáil on Wednesday that British soldiers implicated in atrocities such as Bloody Sunday and the Ballymurphy massacre should “be brought to justice”.
It came when Foreign Secretary Simon Coveney met with a cross-community group of victims of the Troubles to discuss opposition to the proposals.
“It would be completely unacceptable, it would be a betrayal of the victims of all violence,” the Taoiseach said of the proposals.
“There’s no sense here for a lot of people, a lot of victims, closure, answers in terms of who did what.
“Many, many people feel like they’ve been forgotten or the loss of their loved ones has been completely forgotten, and there’s no balance in how we approach that.
“I believe the UK government has dragged its feet on the legacy too long in my opinion.
“Ten years ago, an agreement was reached between the two governments.
“We believe British soldiers should be brought to justice for atrocities like Bloody Sunday, Ballymurphy and the like.”
Mr Martin raised the issue of collusion and said state forces “were involved with all the paramilitaries”.
He added: “It seems to me that the people who don’t want the closure done, or who don’t want the light on it, are the ones involved in the murder.
“We all agree in this house, we are against inheritance proposals and against the idea of an amnesty. There must be clarity and transparency about what happened.
Mr Coveney met a cross-community group of victims, including John Teggart – whose father was killed by soldiers in Ballymurphy, Raymond McCord – whose son was killed by loyalists, and Eugene Reavey – whose three brothers were shot dead by a loyalist paramilitary gang. , Wednesday.
Ahead of the meeting, Mr McCord, of the Truth and Justice Movement, said they were seeking support from the Irish government.
“The order of the day is the British government’s shameful amnesty proposals,” McCord said.
“Our cross-community group, the Truth and Justice Movement, has since August held meetings in London and Belfast with all major political parties in Ireland and the UK except the Conservatives.
“Every political representative signed a historic document agreeing to support us and rejecting the amnesty proposals.
“We also have the support of the NIPSA union.
“We are going to Dublin to talk and listen to Minister Coveney on how and what the Irish government can do to help us stop all proposals from the UK government.”
In July last year, the UK government released a command document outlining its intention to bar future prosecution of military veterans and ex-paramilitaries for incidents in The Troubles prior to April 1998.
The proposals, which British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said would allow Northern Ireland to “draw a line under the Troubles”, would also end all inquiries and legacy civil actions.
The proposals face opposition from all major Stormont parties, the Irish government and many victims’ groups.