A group of relatives whose loved ones were murdered in the conflict will travel from Belfast to Westminster Parliament Square today at 1pm 24th May. The relatives will hold a protest, lobby MP’s and voice their opposition to the British government’s amnesty Bill of Shame (Legacy & Reconciliation Bill), which has its second reading.
The delegation will then walk to 10 Downing Street where at 2.30pm they will hand deliver a letter setting out their opposition to the Bill.
Speaking in advance of their trip Mark Kelly, whose 12 year-old sister Carol Ann was killed by the British Army, said:
“This Bill will deny all families who had loved ones killed truth, justice, and accountability, irrelevant of who the perpetrators were.
“It will close down investigations, inquests, police ombudsman inquiries, and civil cases.
“These investigative processes are working perfectly well, and to good effect, on behalf of families save for interference by the British government.
“That is precisely why the British government has unilaterally tabled this amnesty Bill despite being fully aware of universal opposition to their amnesty plans. There is no support for this Bill whatsoever.
“The Irish government, all the political parties here, and the opposition parties in Britain oppose this Bill but most importantly victims from across the community oppose the Bill.
Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice added:
“This Bill undermines fundamental human rights enshrined within the Good Friday Agreement and the very institutions that flow from the agreement.
“Boris Johnston and Brandon Lewis are usurping the powers of the North’s attorney general, the Lord Chief Justice and judiciary in an unprecedented political overreach by a western government into the criminal justice system.
“They are locking down the courts and administration of justice.
Concluding Alana McShane, sister of Gavin McShane, said:
“This Bill is anti-rule of law, anti-human rights, and anti-democratic. No matter what way this Bill is dressed up it equates to a blanket amnesty.
“It is perpetrator-centred and perpetrator led. It is anti-victim.” ENDS
Families will be available to speak with MPs from 3-5pm in Committee Room 8, Committee Room Corridor
For further information: Andrée Murphy 07375066447; Mark Thompson 07739876128
Bereaved Relatives of Victims of the Conflict Bring Campaign for Truth and Justice to Westminster
Patricia Burns – Daughter of Thomas Burns. Thomas, who had served in the Royal Navy, was killed by a British soldier on 13th July 1972 in north Belfast. Thomas’ inquest returned a verdict of misadventure. The soldier responsible was not charged with the murder.
Michael Monaghan – Two of Michael’s relatives were murdered within the space of six months. His father-in-law Sean McParland was shot dead by loyalists in north Belfast on 25th February 1994 at Michael’s home, and in July 1994 his brother, Bobby was killed by loyalist gunmen in east Antrim. British State agents were involved in both murders.
Mark Kelly – Is the brother of Carol Ann Kelly. Carol Ann was 12 years old when she was killed by a plastic bullet fired by the British Army in west Belfast on 22nd May 1981. The area was quiet at the time and Carol Ann was returning home carrying a pint of milk. Nobody was charged with the murder.
Billy McManus – Son of Willie McManus who was killed in the Ormeau Road bookies massacre on 5th February 1992 in which five people died and a further seven were injured. State collusion has been evidenced by the Stevens Enquiry, Cory Report and the recently (2022) published Police Ombudsman report. However, the authorities now seek to challenge this evidential finding. No one has ever been held to account for the murders.
Alana McShane – Sister of Gavin McShane. Gavin’s mother Maria was injured when pregnant with Gavin, in a no warning loyalist bomb on 16th August 1976. At the age of 17 Gavin was killed, alongside his friend Shane McArdle, by a UVF gunman on 18th May 1994. Nobody has been charged with Gavin’s murder or that of his friend.
CaitIin Hughes – Daughter of Alana and niece of Gavin.
Christine Duffy – Sister of Seamus Duffy who was killed by a plastic bullet in Belfast on 9th August 1989. Seamus was a 15-year-old child when he was killed by the RUC. Of the 17 people killed by plastic bullets, 9 have been children. Nobody to date has been made accountable for Seamus’ murder. Seamus was named after an uncle, his mother’s brother, who was murdered in the 1970’s.
Harry Gargan – Brother of 13-year-old Margaret Gargan who was murdered by British soldiers in July 1972 in west Belfast along with two other children, a parish priest, and another man attempting to aid those injured and dying. Known as the Springhill/Westrock Massacre no one has ever been held to account for these murders.
Mark Thompson – Brother of Peter Thompson. Peter was murdered in January 1990 by the British army in west Belfast. Mark is a founding member of human rights and victim support NGO Relatives for Justice and current CEO of the organisation.