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Alliance will engage in legacy discussions but to fight against amnesty proposals, says Long

Alliance will engage in any discussions about the legacy process but with the desire to fight against the UK Government’s proposals for a Troubles amnesty, party Leader Naomi Long MLA has said.

She was speaking during an Assembly debate on the UK Government’s legacy proposals, which would see an end to prosecutions for Troubles-related murder, as well as future inquests and civil actions.

“It is desperately sad and utterly shameful we had to gather today to denounce these proposals, which are in fact a full amnesty for all those who committed murders and atrocities during the Troubles,” said Mrs Long.

“The proposals have re-traumatised many families, compounded their hurt and robbed them of any remaining hope they had for justice for their loved ones. To be successful, such discussions require openness, honesty and trust. To date, all of these have been in short supply from the Government.

“They are deeply flawed and not grounded on the needs of victims’ families for truth and justice. They cannot deliver closure and reconciliation, instead undermining the rule of law, and are a recipe for decades in the courts, rather than truth recovery and justice. Cynics would suggest that suits the UK Government’s purposes.

“Whilst Alliance has serious reservations about the Government’s proposals, we will engage in the legacy discussions process but on the clear understanding we will be there to fight against these proposals, not facilitate them.

“Alliance’s continued engagement will be conditional on options, including continued access to due process remaining on the table in a meaningful way. Building a new future for Northern Ireland requires us to address the legacy of the past with openness and courage. Without accountability, acknowledgement, truth and justice there can be no solid basis for reconciliation or for building a peaceful and better for all of us.”