Amnesty for soldiers who confess to murder committed during the Troubles
British soldiers as well as members of the RUC and IRA who committed horrific murders during the Troubles in Northern Ireland will avoid prosecution if they confess to their crimes.
However, the relatives of the victims will not be given details about the murder of their loved ones.
The news comes as the Northern Ireland Assembly is on the verge of collapse following a recent suspected IRA killing. First Minister Peter Robinson resigned along with all but one of his DUP ministers saying they could not share power with Sinn Féin, who had been associated with the killing.
The DUP demanded that Stormont – The 2014 agreement between the Irish and British governments and political parties in Northern Ireland – be adjourned or suspended following the murder. However, this could not be agreed.
The Implementation and Reconciliation Group was set up to allow amnesty for people who confess to murders they committed before the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
Now British soldiers as well as members of the RUC and IRA who committed murder are able to wipe the slate clean due to an agreement between the Government and Northern Ireland’s political parties.
The amnesty means that not only will the victims’ families never know what happened to their loved ones but they will not even be told whether the case has been ‘solved’.
The plans could come into place next month, without public consultation.
The authorities believe that the amnesty is the best way to move forward and close the chapter on 30 years of Troubles, according to the Irish Mirror.
However, relatives of victims on both sides are angry at the proposed amnesty.
Eugene Reavey lost three brothers who were killed by a loyalist hit squad in 1976. He said: “I’ve no amnesty on my grief. These murders must be investigated fully and properly and people brought before the courts.”
Jim Allister, of the Traditional Unionist Voice party, added: “Amnesty for terrorists, no matter how it is dressed up, is not just wrong but amounts to dancing on the graves of the victims.”
A Stormont source said: “This is going into legislation whether people like it or not. It works for the governments, it tidies things up for them and they plan to move forward regardless.
“There appears to be support from certain victims’ groups but there will be hell to pay with others who were deliberately left out of discussions.”