‘Bill of Shame’ passes Westminster vote
‘Bill of Shame’ passes Westminster vote


Tory MPs have once again voted to disregard the opposition of people in both parts of Ireland to further advance an overarching cover-up of British war crimes in the Six Counties.

By 292 votes to 200, the House of Commons voted this week to reinstall a clause offering immunity from prosecution to those who co-operate with a bogus ‘truth recovery body’.

Although failing to make irt into law before the summer recess this week, the legislation is still on track to pass through Westminster by September. All investigations, inquests and civil cases are then set to come to an end by May next year.

It is opposed by every political party in the Six Counties and by victims campaigns across the political divide. The London government has also failed to reply to a highly critical United Nations letter on the legacy bill sent to London more than a year ago. No reply was ever received despite a claim blaming an administrative error on the delay.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood described the bill as “a license for impunity” which signalled that “you can murder your own citizens and get away with it”.

He added: “Mostly it’s a piece of legislation written in very dark corners of the British establishment to ensure light is not shone into those corners.”

British Direct Ruler Chris Heaton-Harris (pictured, left) claimed families could use the Legacy Bill to get information which would boost reconciliation, but this was rejected as “disgusting and disingenuous disinformation” by victims’ support group Relatives for Justice.

“This Bill will not bring reconciliation,” they said.” This Bill will harm, hurt and devastate those most hurt. It will undermine the rule of law and the Good Friday Agreement. There is time to withdraw it. There is time to do the right thing.”

The real agenda behind the cover-up agenda was hinted at by DUP MP Ian Paisley who, protected by Westminster privilege, disgracefully attacked a lawyer who represents the bereaved families of victims as “vindictive” and “a snake oil salesman”.

Michael O’Hare, whose 12-year-old sister Majella O’Hare (pictured, right) was killed by British Army in 1976, said victims deserved the right to justice. Majella was shot in the back on her way to church in Whitecross, County Armagh. The nurse who tried to help Majella told the child’s lifeless body was “lifted like a piece of meat” by British soldiers and thrown into a helicopter “to get rid of her”.

Mr O’Hare said: “MPs need to pause and put themselves in my shoes. If your sister was shot and killed, you’d want the truth to come out and you’d rightly expect justice.

“My sister Majella’s life mattered, she was taken from us in the most horrific way. This Bill betrays her, my family and every victim still waiting for the accountability we’re all entitled to.”

Recent protests against the legacy Bill have called on the Dublin government to take an interstate case against London to the international court of the Council of Europe should the Bill pass, which Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he would consider.

Serious concern has also been expressed in the US, across Europe and by international human rights groups. Grainne Teggart of Amnesty said London was setting a “dangerous international precedent”.

She said: “It is disgraceful that a Bill universally opposed, and which betrays victims in the most cruel and contemptuous way possible, continues to be pushed through by the UK Government.

“The call to abandon this shameful Bill has never been more urgent.”

She added: “The stakes for victims could not be higher and we must not lose sight of the fact that there is a better, previously agreed, human rights-compliant and victim-centred way forward to deal with the legacy of the conflict.”

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