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Finucane tells British Lords that legacy bill is cruel, callous and offensive

20 November, 2022 - by John Finucane

Sinn Féin MP John Finucane has written to members of the British House of Lords to reiterate concerns with the British government’s flawed Legacy Bill that will prevent families accessing truth and justice.

The North Belfast MP said:

“The unilateral action proposed through this Bill on legacy by the British government, despite having negotiated the Stormont House Agreement, will essentially pull down the shutters on hundreds of family campaigns for truth and justice.

“Seeking to halt and prevent families from exercising their right to seek truth, justice and accountability is frankly cruel, callous, and offensive. 

“This Bill presents as a deliberate obstacle placed by a British government, who cares not for the lives of the deceased, nor do they care about the rule of law, truth and justice.

“Recent judgments by the courts, along with well-publicised reports from the Police Ombudsman reinforce the importance of families accessing justice. They also show that mechanisms with investigatory powers can work for those who need them most.

"Locally, the Irish government, the Churches, the Victims Commissioner, the Human Rights Commissioner, the Queen’s University Model Bill Team, NGOs and all the main political parties on this island have expressed serious concerns about this Bill and the wider approach to legacy.

"These concerns are also shared internationally by the UN, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, and committee of Ministers, and senior US politicians.

“Executive Ministers have informed the Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris that they would not give their consent to this Bill or to any Legislative Consent Motion request in relation to it.

“This Bill is unworkable as it is incapable of delivering for victims and survivors, it is in breach of the Good Friday Agreement, and it is incompatible with international human rights obligations.

“I have asked members of the House of Lords to tell the British government to focus their efforts on the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement legacy mechanisms, which were agreed by the local parties and both governments and endorsed in public consultation, in a human rights compliant manner.”

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