US Congress members have called on the US Secretary of State to publicly oppose a massive British government cover-up plan which would end prosecutions of members of the British Crown Forces and their agents for their actions in the conflict in Ireland.
Twenty-one members of the parliament in Washington have written to the powerful Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, urging him to speak out against plans revealed earlier this year for an end to all prosecutions, inquests and related litigation.
The letter was written by New York Congressman Tom Suozzi, and signed by members including Richard Neal, who co-chairs the Friends of Ireland Caucus in the US Congress.
It said the legacy proposals “will close all paths to justice for victims denying them the truth, justice and accountability to which they are entitled”.
Massachusetts representative Mr Neal said: “Like every political party on the island, we are strongly opposed to proposed UK legislation that would give amnesty to human rights abuses committed during the Troubles. I look forward to secretary Blinken’s response.”
Michael O’Hare, whose 12-year-old old sister Majella was shot dead by a British Army soldier in 1976, welcomed the intervention.
“All those with influence must play their part in ensuring the UK government heed the outcry at these proposals, abandon these plans and urgently establish mechanisms that will give my family and all victims truth, justice and accountability,” he said.
Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD also welcomed the publication of the Congressional letter.
“Representatives Neal, Kelly and Suozzi are great friends of Ireland and protectors of our agreements,” she said.
“The British government’s amnesty proposals run contrary to their obligations under the Stormont House Agreement and undermine the human rights commitments of the Good Friday Agreement.
“These proposals have rightly been rejected by all political parties across Ireland, by victims groups, by human rights experts internationally and the US Congress.
“The members of Congress are clear in their unequivocal rejection of the British government’s proposals - it is time for the British government to listen and to return to the Stormont House Agreement.”