Every member of the House of Lords will be informed of the unanimous rejection by Seanad Éireann of the British Government’s proposals to ban all Troubles prosecutions, investigations, civil cases and inquests now or in the future, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Senator Emer Currie led a cross-party motion rejecting proposals contained in the British Government’s Command Paper addressing the legacy of Northern Ireland’s past, which received unanimous support in the Upper House this week.
Senator Currie, Fine Gael’s Seanad spokesperson on Northern Ireland, said: “Political consensus is rare on this island but, in this case, it is – the voices of victims and those who support them must be heard in London. I have asked our Cathaoirleach Senator Mark Daly to send this resolution to every member of the House of Lords to understand both the reasoning and depth of feeling behind our position.
“This motion builds on the all but unanimous rejection of the Command Paper by victims and survivors, those who served in the police and army, by all parties North and South, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Irish Government.
“The United Nations, Council of Europe and members of the US Congress have also spoken out about human rights standards. The British Government proposals cannot be the way forward.”
The text of the motion was taken from a document signed by politicians of all parties North and South during the summer, including Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Greens, Democratic Unionist Party, Ulster Unionist Party, Sinn Féin, SDLP, Labour and Alliance, at a meeting organised by a cross community group of victims.
The wording was as follows; ‘That Seanad Éireann totally rejects the British Government’s proposals for ‘Dealing with the past’ including amnesties for those who committed murder. No individual, group, organisation or State forces/agents can be immune from prosecution. Investigations, prosecutions, inquests and civil actions cannot be abolished and due process must take place.’
Senator Currie continued: “I have conveyed the views of Seanad Éireann to the British Ambassador Paul Johnston and look forward to engaging with my counterparts on the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly this weekend.”
“We need to stay true to the principles of the Stormont House Agreement. There absolutely must be an avenue to prosecution. For truth and justice to emerge, access to criminal-led investigations, inquests and civil cases now or in the future cannot be shut down.
“If London’s proposals proceed, they would be a rule of law lockdown and a lockdown on hope. A truly reconciled society must be based on honesty and the rule of law.”