NORTH Belfast MP John Finucane has repeated calls for the British Government to scrap its controversial bill on dealing with legacy issues from the conflict in the North.

The bill, which offers a conditional amnesty to those accused of killings during the conflict, was debated in the House of Lords on Tuesday.

At the bill's second reading in the House of Lords, the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) Minister Lord Caine outlined some of the amendments. He claimed they would include "a more robust process" around immunity from prosecution and improve the investigative powers of the information body and propose tougher penalties for those who refuse to co-operate.

 

Speaking to the North Belfast News, Sinn Féin MP John Finucane said: "I would share the analysis from human rights organisations, legal practitioners, NGO’s that this legislation is unamendable.

"Any tinkering around the edges will not address the concerns that have been raised since the outset.

"The British Government are gaslighting victims with this legislation. At the root of this is the ability for particular state actors to receive amnesties before a criminal court. This will prevent families from obtaining inquests and taking civil action through the Police Ombudsman.

"The British Government are choosing to ignore their own domestic and international human rights and legal responsibilities and obligations.

"I think it is unprecedented that there is that unanimous voice from every single political party on the island of Ireland and indeed in Britain, apart from the Tory party are against this as well as churches, human rights organisations, legal practitioners, academics, US Congress, Biden Administration and most importantly, the victims and their families."

Mr Finucane called on the British Government to listen and scrap the bill.

"The trauma of the Troubles has passes on through generations with grandchildren and even great grandchildren having to fight for justice. It is incredibly cruel," he added.

"As part of New Decade New Approach, the British Government promised to legislate for the Stormont House Agreement within 100 days but instead took unilateral action and went off in a completely different direction.

"If you are trying to pass legislation and impose it upon a society that has no appetite and support for it, then that is a starting point. It should send a message that the British Government need to scrap this bill and go back to the drawing board.

"Whether a family suffered a loss through republican actions, loyalist actions or state actions, this legislation will not discriminate in how it will prevent you from accessing truth and justice. The British Government need to listen and understand this legislation is unamendable.

"It is likely this bill will end up in the House of Commons at some stage and the unfortunate reality is that this Tory government still maintains a significant majority there.

"It is also cruel to impose that need to challenge this legislation in the courts upon families. Sinn Féin are also calling on the Irish Government to take an inter-state challenge against this legislation but that is a matter for them."