Like Sinn Fein I oppose an amnesty — for IRA killers of my brother
With an accompanying video of her standing outside Stormont last month (July 20) Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister, Michelle O’Neill tweeted that ‘there can be no amnesty for those who murdered citizens on the streets of Ireland and for those who directed them’.
She continued by stating ‘Sinn Féin will continue to support the right of all families to access truth and justice’.
I couldn’t agree more. Although it wasn’t just on the streets of Ireland that citizens were murdered.
Certainly men women and even children were killed throughout Ireland, North and South, but many were also murdered throughout England, Scotland, Wales and even Europe.
We just have to remember names such as Patrick Rooney, 9, in Belfast and six-month-old baby Nivruti Mahesh Islania in Germany to know the brutality of that awful truth.
No democratic country should ever consider ‘amnesty’ legislation even if dressed up in a ‘statute of limitations’ clause by Boris Johnson and Brandon Lewis.
I am glad the Deputy First Minister supports ‘the right of all families to access truth and justice’.
I class myself as one of those families considering my police officer brother John was killed by the IRA while off duty in my family run ice cream parlour in 1988.
Two random teenage customers were deliberately shot and injured that night. Their only crime was loving our ice cream.
No-one has been brought to justice for this brutal attack.
Almost 33 years later I doubt anyone will. I have reluctantly accepted that. But I am glad that Michelle O’Neill agrees that the dream of someone being brought to court, no matter how long that might take, is a glimmer of hope that should not be taken away from any victim’s family.
Killers, no matter who they are, shouldn’t believe they can get away with murder.
That sends the wrong message to grieving families and future generations.
For political advisors to design a Monopoly board with a ‘Never Go To Jail’ card for every player is obnoxious.
It appears the lid must be kept on the ‘Troubles’ can of worms to ensure the stench of the backroom deals with certain groups and individuals never spills out.
I assume Ms O’Neill, and Sinn Féin by association, agree that her revulsion at a statute of limitations must logically extend to side deals that appear to have been secretly slipped into the legacy mix.
Surely it isn’t just coincidence that some people here appear to be untouchables?
Surely there’s no hierarchy of murderers or those who directed them?
Surely it’s not possible that some people were privately given assurances that they would never be prosecuted?
Effectively demanding they be given a private ‘amnesty’ before signing up to any peace deal.
Perhaps the Deputy First Minister could clarify her thinking on that possibility.
• George Larmour is author of They Killed the Ice Cream Man
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