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31 January 2018

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Time for Truth march launched in Belfast

Emma Rogan at the Time for Truth march launch.

“Currently the British government have abdicated their international obligations to victims by blocking implementation of and denying families access to the legacy mechanisms that were agreed in the Stormont House Agreement. - Linda Dillon MLA

Relatives of people killed by the British state and their allies in unionist death squads are calling on people across the country to join with them on Sunday 25 February for the Time for Truth march and support their campaigns for truth and justice.

Plans for the march were revealed at a press conference in Belfast's Europa Hotel on Tuesday 30 January, when representatives of the Ballymurphy, Loughinisland and McGurks Bar families were joined by other campaign groups to demand that the British government and DUP honour commitments the legacy they made.

Among their demands the groups called on the British government to implement the Stormont House legacy mechanisms and provide adequate funding for legacy inquests in line with the proposals made by the Lord Chief Justice, Sir Declan Morgan.

Almost two years ago Morgan, the North's most senior judge, called on the British government to provide funds to fast track inquests into a number of high profile incidents, involving almost 100 deaths.

The then First Minister Arlene Foster refused to allow the request to be debated in the Stormont Executive ensuring that the proposal could not go ahead.

Her decision is presently the subject of a court challenge in Belfast's High Court.

Speaking at the launch of the march, Sinn Féin MLA Emma Rogan, whose father was one of six men shot dead by the UVF at Loughinisland, and John Teggart, whose father was killed by British paratroopers in the Ballymurphy Massacre, stated that their appeal was going out to anyone who is affected by the lack of mechanisms to deal with legacy cases.

Bloody Sunday campaigner John Kelly will chair the rally at Belfast City Hall.

The march has two meeting points. One will assemble at the McGurk's Bar memorial on North Queen Street at 12 noon and leave for the City Hall at 12.15pm.

The other meeting point is Divis Tower also at 12 noon and will leave at 12.30pm.

Calling for support for the 25 February demonstration Sinn Féin's victim's spokesperson Linda Dillon said: “Sinn Féin will continue to support all families who are being denied truth and justice.

“There is a clear need to address the issue of legacy of the past and we need to see the full implementation of the mechanisms agreed at the Stormont House talks, including setting up the HIU.

“Currently the British government have abdicated their international obligations to victims by blocking implementation of and denying families access to the legacy mechanisms that were agreed in the Stormont House Agreement.

“They have also failed to provide funding to the Lord Chief Justice’s Legacy Inquest Plan to deal with the backlog in legacy cases some of which are over 40 years old.

“This is totally unacceptable. The funding for legacy inquests has already been agreed, the British government should release the funding immediately to allow these families access to truth and justice."

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