NORTHERN IRELAND Secretary Karen Bradley has sought to clarify her previous comments suggesting deaths caused by soldiers and police during the Troubles were not crimes.
In an address to the House of Commons, Bradley had claimed "fewer than 10 per cent" of Troubles deaths in the North were caused by members of the military or police and that they were “dignified and appropriate" actions rather than criminal acts.
The Conservative MP also said that "every single one" of the killings "at the hands of terrorists" during the Troubles era were criminal.
Bradley's statement sparked widespread anger just days after it emerged that the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) is due to decide on whether ex-paratroopers involved in the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre in Derry will face prosecution.
Killings by the security forces during the Troubles were "not crimes", Karen Bradley told MPs. She later issued a clarification in the House of Commons, saying her comments "might have been open to misinterpretation". Full story here: https://t.co/WNa8IWMfiN pic.twitter.com/fdPv5stzAN
— BBC News NI (@BBCNewsNI) March 6, 2019
Bradley’s comments have come in for strong criticism from the victims of the security forces and nationalist political leaders. The Government is now seeking an explanation regarding the statements while there have been called for the Conservative MP to resign.
Speaking to the Press Association at a St Patrick’s Day event at the Irish Embassy in London, the 48-year-old sought to clarify her comments but stopped short of an apology.
“Coming back to the House of Commons and correcting the record is the biggest statement I can make in terms of the inadvertent comments that I made during oral questions,” she said via BreakingNews.ie.
“I was absolutely determined to be clear to everybody that what I had said needed correcting and to do so on the floor of the House of Commons is the biggest statement I can make.”
“I am determined that we will find a way to deal with the issue of the legacy of the Troubles in Northern Ireland as soon as possible and in a way that is right and fair for victims and everyone.”
“As I say, I never intend to cause any offence. I want to ensure that we have a system that works for everyone.”
These comments are an insult to families who have lost loved ones at the hands of the British army, state agencies and their proxies in the loyalist death squads which were directed by the British state.
These offensive and hurtful comments should be withdrawn immediately. https://t.co/Ow1uNZoykg
— Michelle O’Neill (@moneillsf) March 6, 2019
Taking to Twitter, Sinn Fein vice-president Michelle O’Neill was among those to criticise Bradley stating that her “offensive and hurtful comments should be withdrawn immediately.”
“These comments are an insult to families who have lost loved ones at the hands of the British army, state agencies and their proxies in the loyalist death squads which were directed by the British state,” she wrote.