August 23, 2021
British state policy on legacy denounced by International opinion – Kearney

Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney MLA has said British state policy on legacy has been denounced in the court of international opinion after strong interventions from UN and US figures in opposition to the British government’s amnesty proposals.

Writing in his latest blog for An Phoblacht, the South Antrim MLA said:

“Recently I attended the opening of Halla Éanna, the new club premises, at Club Naomh Éanna (CNÉ) in Hightown, County Antrim, and the inauguration of a new playing pitch dedicated to the memory of former club stalwart, Gerry Devlin.

“Gerry was assassinated by a unionist death squad in December 1997. He was one of six members from the club to lose their lives as a result of sectarian attacks by sectarian paramilitaries during the conflict in the north of Ireland

“Naomh Éanna has suffered heavily in the conflict due to the number of fatal and other attacks on its members, the bombing of its premises, and destruction of its property.

“No one has ever been arrested or charged with Gerry Devlin’s murder. A community inquiry held after the assassination by a death squad of Gerard Lawlor, another Club member in 2002, found collusion by state agencies in his killing. 

“On 14 July the Tory government, after years of blocking and prevarication finally declared an intention to abandon the Stormont House Agreement in favour of its own amnesty proposals, which give legal protection to British state forces, agents and political overseers for their actions during the conflict in Ireland.

“It was the culmination of many years of concerted push back from powerful sections of the British state system, which have never embraced the peace settlement in Ireland. 

“No one in British military intelligence, and other state agencies, or from within Thatcher’s war cabinet – who supplied the unionist paramilitaries with arms shipments; and inserted key agents into controlling positions within the death squads – wants any public scrutiny of their role in the conflict. 

“The recent Tory amnesty proposals are a full-frontal assault on the Good Friday Agreement, and amount to a subversion of the administration of justice and due process on an industrial scale.

Referring to the recent Assembly recall debate on the British government announcement, the Executive Minister, wrote:

“I told the Assembly in July that the British government has no credibility in Ireland and would be denounced in the court of international opinion for this decision.  

“Just over a week ago in a highly significant development, Fabián Salvioli, the UN rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation, and guarantees of non-recurrence, and Morris Tidball-Binz, special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, expressed “grave concern” to the British about the “de facto amnesty and blanket impunity” being introduced, and urged that they “refrain from regressing on their international human rights obligations”. 

“The UN intervention was followed by a statement from Michael Posner, a US former Assistant Secretary of State in the Obama administration, who described the move as “ill conceived, premature and unwise”. He warned the British of a negative reaction from Washington and elsewhere if they proceeded with the amnesty plans and accused them of “upending” their obligations under the GFA.

“Make no mistake, this British government is an outlier in regard to adherence with, and respect for international law. It has turned the north into a political backwater and treated the peace and political processes with contempt.”

Read the full blog here: https://www.anphoblacht.com/contents/28150

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