The British government will present proposals from Troubes’ past

The UK government is set to present legislation on the legacy of the riots in Northern Ireland.

The Foreign Secretary for Northern Ireland said late Monday that the UK Government would table the Troubles of Northern Ireland (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill on Tuesday.

It comes the day after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Northern Ireland to restore power-sharing amid ongoing rows over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Mr Johnson was met with a demonstration in Hillsborough, Co Down, as activists objected to his government’s proposals.

There was outrage last year when the government put forward proposals to offer an effective amnesty for violators of the Troubles.

As revealed in the Queen’s Speech last week, the plan appears to have been tweaked in response to near-universal opposition to the original proposals.

The latest plans include granting some immunity conditional on their cooperation with a new independent Commission on Reconciliation and Information Recovery.

The new panel is designed to help individuals and family members seek and obtain information about deaths and serious injuries related to issues.

It is also intended to create a historical record of what is known regarding each death that occurred during the riots.

The proposals leave open the way for criminal prosecution if it is assumed that people have not acquired their immunity.

More than 3,500 people were killed during the riots, including over 1,000 members of the security forces.

Most deaths are attributed to Republican paramilitaries, while 30% are attributed to loyalist paramilitaries and 10% to security forces.

Secretary of State Brandon Lewis said there will be “no automatic access to immunity” under the plan.

“The riot years were a terrible time in our history with tragic deaths across communities.

“Following the signing of the Belfast Agreement (Good Friday), demanding compromises were rightly made in support of the peace process – addressing the legacy of the unrest fully and fairly is another such step forward.

“The current system is failing; it brings neither truth nor justice to the vast majority of families. It fails victims and veterans alike.

“Any family who has lost a loved one, no matter who they were, is provided with more information than ever about the circumstances of their death.

“At the heart of this approach is a robust and independent inquiry process, supported by an ambitious and comprehensive oral history program that allows people to tell their stories and share their experiences.

“It is true that those involved in an investigation cannot “get something for free”.

“Individuals who cooperate will be granted immunity, offering the best avenue to give victims and their families the answers they’ve been searching for for years, and to give our veterans the reassurance they deserve.”

Mr Lewis also confirmed plans to commission an “official history” of the riots, which the Northern Ireland office described as an “authoritative and in-depth investigation” into the UK Government’s policy in the region during the decades-long conflict.


Source: independent

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