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Northern Ireland: 'Offensive' Legacy plans rejected by Assembly must be dropped

In response to the unanimous opposition expressed by the Northern Ireland Assembly today to UK Government plans announced last week which would see an end to prosecutions, inquests, judicial review and civil claims to ‘Troubles’ conflict related incidents, Grainne Teggart, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Campaign Manager, said:   

‘‘The message today is clear; our Assembly stands with victims and against the UK Government’s appalling plans to protect perpetrators. 

“After decades of failure to put in place mechanisms to deliver truth, justice and accountability for victims, the UK Government is cruelly adding to their trauma by closing down all paths to justice forever. We will not accept people who committed grave human rights abuses being placed above the law. 

“Our fight now moves to Westminster; we call on UK Parliament to heed the opposition expressed today and work with us to ensure the UK Government’s offensive plan does not become law.”

Michael O’Hare, whose 12yr old sister Majella was shot dead by a British Army soldier in 1976 and is being supported by Amnesty in seeking an independent investigation into the killing, said:  

“We do not want a de facto amnesty, the lives of our loved ones mattered. I need all those in power to stand with me and other victims and deliver us the truth and justice we have fought so long and hard for. 

“The passage of time has not diminished the devastation of losing my sister Majella to bullets from a soldier’s machine gun. These proposals are shameful, we will oppose them every step of the way.”

Killing of 12-year-old Majella O’Hare

The proposals have been condemned by Michael O’Hare, brother of Majella O’Hare, a 12-year-old girl shot dead by a British Army soldier in 1976. On 14 August 1976, Majella was on her way to church with a group of friends in the Armagh village of Whitecross. They walked past an army patrol and, when she was about 20 or 30 yards beyond it, a soldier shot Majella with his machine gun. In 2011, the Ministry of Defence apologised for the killing, but no-one has ever been held accountable for it.

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