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16 May 2016 Edition

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Another Europe is possible - Treo eile don Eoraip

Funded by the European United Left/ Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL)

• The Irish human rights delegation outside the Council of Europe before meeting with Representatives of the Office of Human Rights Commissioner

Funded by the European United Left / Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) – Aontas Clé na hEorpa/Na Glasaigh Chlé Nordacha Crúpa Paliminta – Parlaimimt na h Eorpa

Legacy – British Government policy of ‘deny, delay, death’ addressed in European Parliament

THERE ARE MANY aspects to engaging with legacy issues from the conflict in the Six Counties. Central to the Sinn Féin approach has been to facilitate information disclosure, truth and justice for families. This is largely due to the failure of the British state to investigate deaths caused by them and their agents properly or effectively. Of itself this has created a necessary and strategic focus from families (and indeed in Sinn Féin) on unresolved deaths.  

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson recently hosted a series of meetings in the European Parliament in Strasbourg between EU departments and a delegation of people from the North of Ireland seeking truth and justice from British collusion.

The 12-strong delegation (with representatives from the Pat Finucane Centre, the Committee on the Administration of Justice and Relatives for Justice) had a series of meetings with the European Fundamental Rights Agency, Representatives of the Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner and the Office of the Execution of Judgement. 

In the immediate term, support must go to the families who have been bereaved to have a human rights compliant mechanism of resolution.

This is particularly true in the killings in Ballymurphy, the New Lodge, McGurk’s Bar Massacre, Kelly’s Bar, Bloody Sunday, and the deaths of Patrick Finucane and IRA Volunteer Pearse Jordan.  

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The British state was sponsoring the murders of those it had a legal duty to protect and these killings explain why the British Government has invoked its so-called ‘national security’ clause which is core to its strategy to cover up its role in the conflict. 

This silence needs to be broken. These stories must be heard.  

Part of the motivation for organising this delegation was to give hope and encouragement to the hundreds of families seeking information, truth and justice.  

One of the participants in the delegation, Anne Cadwallader, investigative journalist and author of Lethal Allies: British Collusion in Ireland, and a representative of the Pat Finucane Centre raised how the British policy is one of “3Ds: Deny, Delay, Death” – deny any involvement as long as possible and delay releasing information in the hope that those seeking it will die. 

Niall Murphy, a partner in the legal practice of KRW Law, explained how the Lord Chief Justice of the North of Ireland had requested money from the British Government before the Assembly elections to help resource his concept plan for the Coroners’ Courts to discharge the backlog in inquests to assist in providing a truth recovery mechanism for the grieving families. The British Government, however, is refusing to honour its international and legally-binding obligations.  

This is the same British Government that spends billions of pounds each year on nuclear bombs, the same British Government that spent £500million on depoliticising policing through the Patten Redundancy Scheme which was further complemented by the retire/rehire scandal, as well as a hearing loss compensation scheme which – when added to UDR/RUC Reserve and Prison Service compensations – totalled more than £1.2billion in payments to placate the ‘security constituency’.   

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• Martina Anderson MEP and investigative journalist Anne Cadwallider (right) present a copy of 'Lethal Allies: British Collusion in Ireland' to a representative of the Office of Human Rights Commissioner

The British Government is refusing to comply with its obligations.

Seamus Finucane, brother of murdered civil rights lawyer Pat Finucane, gave a very personal account of the effect the cover-up has on the lives on the families. He described the pain and anger his family have been put through, and the false dawns they experienced, but also their determination to reach truth and justice. 

The meetings conducted during the delegation had very positive and productive outcomes. Both the EU Fundamental Rights Agency and the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner were invited to Ireland, as a matter of urgency, to take part in a fact-finding mission to meet the families whose appeals for truth and accountability have been constantly insulted.

The British Government fears the truth. More than that, the British state fears the dignity and dedication of families seeking truth. It has been the brave stand of families for truth that has exposed the lies, deceit and propaganda of the British state.

Sinn Féin MEPs are committed to seeking truth, justice and remedy for the range of violations suffered and we are committed to the realisation of the human rights of all those who suffered those violations. 

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