Gavin Robinson: Legacy Bill will let terrorists sleep soundly

DUP MP Gavin Robinson has warned the House of Commons that wanted terrorist killers will “sleep soundly in their beds” if the government’s Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill passes through Parliament.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 10:49 pm
East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson
East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson

In an impassioned speech on the legacy legislation Mr Robinson said the bill failed the twin tests of natural justice and the immoral position of creating equivalence between military and police veterans and paramilitary murderers.

The East Belfast MP also told the House that the bill would even erase the two years jail sentence wanted terror suspects would have to serve if arrested and convicted for pre-1998 crimes under the Belfast Agreement’s early release scheme for paramilitary prisoners.

On the impact of the bill on the lives of republican and loyalist suspects Mr Robinson said: ““Those perpetrators of violence be they republican or loyalist will be able to sleep soundly in their beds once this bill has passed. They will know they will never have to spend a day in jail. They will know that the focus will be on those state cases for which there is information that will naturally run through the information recovery process.

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“They won’t engage in this and there is no consequence for them not doing so.

“I say it with as much respect as I can in the circumstances but the idea that our government, this Parliament is going to pass legislation that allows the perpetrators of violence who have evaded justice to retire in dignity is a disgrace. It is a disgrace and retire they will.”

He continued: “The principle we have applied throughout the myriad and decades of consideration around legacy has been one that keeps open the hope of justice ... that this state recognises that what happened to their loved ones was wrong and that natural justice and the rule of law in this country still matters, still counts and should still run through our system, that is something we have attached to every proposal that has been brought before us.

“Secondly, we have never wanted to see an equivalence between people who either lived, innocent peaceful and wholesome lives and were cut down in their prime as a result of terrorists, or those who stepped forward to protect all of us.

“There is no equivalence between those brave women and men and those went out to destroy and wreak havoc in our society.”