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UK Government's shameful course of action will see paramilitaries no longer held to account, says Farry

The UK Government’s intention to prevent prosecutions of soldiers who committed crimes during the Troubles is a “shameful course of action” which will see paramilitaries no longer held accountable for their actions, Alliance Deputy Leader Stephen Farry MP has said.

Reports suggested the legislation will be announced in the Queen’s Speech next week, which could see limits placed on prosecutions for offences committed by soldiers and paramilitaries before the Good Friday Agreement.

“This is a shameful course of action from the UK Government, both in terms of process and substance. It is even worse to see the sketch of a new approach emerging from faceless briefings to the media ahead of today’s Police Ombudsman report into the killings by police of a nine-year-old boy and three others in 1969,” said North Down MP Dr Farry.

“The NIO has has failed to engage in meaningful dialogue or consultation with parties and in particular victims’ groups. Their approach represents a ditching of the Stormont House Agreement, which represents an agreement between the UK and Irish Governments, and most local parties, and while not perfect, continues to be the most viable way forward.

“The Government’s policy on legacy has been framed through dealing with the false narrative of vexatious investigations against veterans. But now this approach means republican and loyalist terrorists will no longer be held accountable for their actions during the Troubles.

"It is difficult to see how these proposals will be consistent with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. We need a comprehensive system for legacy, including investigations, with everyone equal under the law, or else victims will never receive the justice, truth and reconciliation they deserve.”