The private action being taken by the Hyde Park bomb families will give other victims of terrorism hope for the future of their own cases, a victims’ spokesman has said.
Ken Funston, advocacy manager with the South East Fermanagh Foundation, attended the Hyde Park campaign launch at Westminster.
“It was a good turnout, with quite a few MPs from Northern Ireland as well as DUP peers Lord Morrow and Lord Hayes, UUP peer Lord Rogan as well as Kate Hoey,” he said.
“Col Bob Stewart MP gave a speech in which he said it was disgraceful the way our soldiers and UDR are being treated in terms of prosecutions.
“The big thing is that if the Hyde Park private action has a level of success then that will give all the innocent victims out there hope that they can have some belief and hope in the future for their own cases.”
Also present for the launch were DUP MPs Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, Ian Paisley, Jim Shannon, Gavin Robinson and Gregory Campbell.
UUP representatives who attended included MPs Danny Kinahan and Tom Elliott as well as Lord Empey.
Campaign lawyer Matt Jury, who spearheaded the civil action in the Omagh bomb case, is acting for the families.
“In the aftermath of the Hyde Park and Regents Park bombs in 1982, for which the same IRA team is believed to have been responsible, the Prime Minister promised the British people and the victims: “We shan’t rest until we bring these men to justice,” he said.
“Thirty years later, a ‘catastrophic error’ by the government allowed the Chief Suspect in the Hyde park bombing to walk free.
“Because of this awful mistake, the only hope of the victims and survivors have now is to bring their own private legal action.
“Today, the government has the opportunity to make amends and good on its promise. Bafflingly, it has stubbornly and persistently refused to do so.
“What message is this sending to today’s terrorists? You can commit the most terrible atrocities but, wait long enough, keep your head down and you’ll be in the clear. Appeasement can only serve to embolden terrorists and seriously undermine and diminish our security forces counter-terror efforts.
“What message are we sending to today’s victims? After every attack the government quite rightly promises them that they will receive every possible support and no stone will be left unturned in catching the perpetrators. Too often, in the years to come, the victims come to realise there is no support and that too many of those connected to the attacks are left untouched by the law.
“The message should be simple: When the government cannot or fails to prosecute the terrorists itself then it should do everything in its power to support the victims in pursuing justice themselves. When it comes this country’s victims and survivors of terrorism, the unfortunate truth is the government does not do enough. It should and must do more.
“The families would not be here today but for the government’s own “catastrophic error” and they continue to pay the price. The government has a duty of care to provide them full and proper support. We hope it will now do so.”
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