Almost twenty years after Good Friday Agreement, former political prisoners still experience discrimination.
Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson, along with Michael Culbert - Director of Coiste na nIarchimÍCoiste na nlarchimím, has called for the full implementation of the Good Friday and subsequent agreements, in terms of equalities for ex-political prisoners.
Speaking following a delegation of victims and families of British state collusion to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Martina Anderson MEP said,
"Despite the UN outlining that their process of DDR (disarmament, demobilization and reintegration) must be integrated into the entire peace process of post-conflict societies, this was never carried out in Ireland.
"As a result, almost twenty years after the Good Friday Agreement, certain groups of Irish citizens - namely ex-political prisoners and their families - are still experiencing discrimination.
"The UN states that whilst the DDR alone cannot resolve conflict, prevent violence, or enable development, it can, however, help establish a secure environment so that other elements of a recovery and peacebuilding strategy can proceed.
"However, although our society, along with the help of political parties has managed to resolve conflict and prevent violence, many of our citizens are still denied full access to goods and services.
"This is also true in terms of employment, where applicants can be denied of, or dismissed from, employment if they are an ex-political prisoner.
"Representatives from Coiste na nlarchimím therefore presented a short analysis of the current situation, explaining the inequalities and requesting advocacy to the Office of the European Human Rights Commissioner and to the Office of the Execution of Judgements.
"Former political prisoners are entitled to be treated with respect as full and equal members of society and the progressive steps made during the meetings with EU representatives are further steps into ending this discrimination." ENDS