Today's Most Watched Stories
- Oscar Pistorius breaks down during second day of murder trial
- Malaysia Airlines: a flood of tears at the vigil for missing flight
- U.S. removes Israel from blacklist of patent violators
- Mozambique: Filipe Nyussi to Be Frelimo Presidential Candidate
- Maybe Rupert Murdoch is right and print media will get one last heyday | Michael Wolff
- Subscribe to Site-wide RSS Feed
- Subscribe to TOP NEWS feed rss
Author Archives: Henry McDonald
Shadow Northern Ireland secretary says mistake that led to freeing of John Downey was ‘catastrophic error’
Labour has issued an apology for a mistake that freed an IRA suspect in the Hyde Park bombing and exposed the existence of secret de facto amnesty letters for some republican “on the runs”.
The shadow Northern Ireland secretary, Ivan Lewis, described the debacle as a “catastrophic error” that has denied justice to the victims of the 1982 atrocity.
Lewis also appeared to distance himself from fellow Labour MP and ex Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain, who has defended the scheme that gave effective amnesties to 187 wanted IRA fugitives – although Hain denied they were amnesties.
Lewis also distanced Labour from the “crass insensitivity of those who chose to focus on the perceived wrong Mr Downey suffered”. John Downey was freed last week when his defence team produced one of the letters; the case against him subsequently collapsed.
He had been charged with the murder of four soldiers in an explosion in Hyde Park, in which he had denied any involvement.
Lewis said elements of the peace process could not be undone but expressed regret over the issue and the way it was handled.
“In defending the peace process, we owe the families of the Hyde Park victims an unequivocal apology – for the catastrophic error, and the crass insensitivity of those who focus on the perceived wrongs Mr Downey suffered, rather than the brutally murdered soldiers,” said Lewis.
“It is similar to the anger provoked by claims of equivalency between a republican or loyalist paramilitary bomber killed during an attempted bombing and a civilian or soldier killed by a terrorist attack.
“Of course, the families of all concerned deserve support from victims’ services. But there should be no attempt to suggest moral equivalence.”
In an article for the Belfast Telegraph, Lewis rejected the notion that blanket amnesties should now apply across the board to all those responsible for murders and injuries during the Troubles.
He said: “I do not agree that peace would be best served now and in the future by denying victims’ families any right to seek answers and accountability for the loss of loved ones.
“Whether those concerned are the vast majority who were killed by IRA or loyalist paramilitaries or others who are alleged to have been killed unlawfully by military personnel, supposedly ‘drawing a line’ with an across the board amnesty would do nothing to heal wounds or help create a better environment for reconciliation.”
theguardian.com © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
No related posts.