MP claims fight for justice for Troubles victims is ‘far from over’ despite Legacy Act taking effect

MP claims fight for justice for Troubles victims is ‘far from over’ despite Legacy Act taking effect

AN MP has claimed the campaign for justice for victims of the Troubles is not over, despite the enactment of new legislation which puts an end to prosecutions from that period.

Speaking after the British Government’s Legacy Act came into force, SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood, who is the MP for Foyle, has said that the campaign to provide "truth, justice and accountability” for victims and survivors will continue.

“This immoral Tory government’s attempt to shut down routes to justice for victims and their families cannot be allowed to succeed,” he said.

“My thoughts are with those across the North who have been left feeling hopeless and despondent that their pursuit of justice has ended.

“My message to them is clear – this is not over. This legislation is an insult to the memory of those who were murdered during the Troubles.”

Colum Eastwood, Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, pictured alongside Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris, who has welcomed the enactment of the Legacy Act this week

Mr Eastwood said his party will continue to work with the Labour Party in Westminster to have the controversial Legacy Act – which sees those who co-operate with the newly established Independent Commission for Reconciliation & Information Recovery (ICRIR) granted immunity from prosecution over Troubles-era cases - repealed and replaced.

“We will never reckon with our past by closing down the path to truth and justice,” Mr Eastwood said.

“This legislation is an outrageous attempt by the British government to cover up the actions of the state and to protect their dirty secrets.

“Human rights organisations, the Irish Government and all political parties in the North have been united in their opposition to the Legacy Act and still the British government continued on regardless, without a care for the harm they would cause.”

He added: “Since this legislation was announced the SDLP has been working with our colleagues at Westminster and in the Labour Party to build a coalition of opposition to this bill.

“ We have received assurances that Labour will repeal the legislation if they form the next government and I welcome the public commitment from Shadow Secretary of State Hilary Benn.

“The election can’t come soon enough for those of us who want to wrench this rotten government from power and begin the work of undoing 14 years of damage to our entire society."