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British state policy is blocking progress on legacy — Kearney

10 March, 2019 - by Declan Kearney

The British government must accept its responsibility as a protagonist in the conflict, comply with the Good Friday Agreement and end its block on the legacy mechanisms agreed at Stormont House in 2014, Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney has said. 

In today’s An Phoblacht, the South Antrim MLA writes: 

“Karen Bradley’s intervention on killings by British state forces in Ireland last week was absolutely appalling and offensive, but it wasn't surprising. She was doing her job and her successors will do exactly the same. 

“The British Secretary of State was accurately expressing British state policy regarding the conflict in Ireland. 

“The military and security establishment has always been central to the formulation and execution of British state policy towards Ireland. That has never changed. 

“Its opposition to progressive democratic and peaceful transformation is the reason that legacy issues, and how to deal with the past, is so destabilising within the political process, and indeed is the main factor preventing a new beginning to policing being achieved here. 

"Unless and until, the British government changes its pro-unionist and single narrative bias, legacy will continue to destabilise politics and poison the capacity of the PSNI to act in a fully transparent and accountable way, or to command full community confidence.

“For progress to be made the British state needs to accept its responsibility as a protagonist in the conflict and comply with the 'rigorous impartiality' required under the Good Friday Agreement and commit to its full implementation.

“It has to support the immediate establishment of the Stormont House legacy mechanisms, free from political interference. The attempts to introduce a statute of limitations for state forces must stop, and there can be no change to the definition of a victim.

“The Irish government also needs to recognise the gravity of the worsening political situation. It too has major responsibilities.

“Appeals for apologies from Karen Bradley by An Tánaiste mean nothing to the victims of British state forces and agents, north or south. 

“The Irish government must start to hold the British publicly and politically, robustly to account. It has obligations to ensure implementation of both the Good Friday and Stormont House Agreements.”

Declan Kearney's full blog can be read on the An Phoblacht website:

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