TD threatens to name Bloody Sunday murderers in Leinster House if Britain pushes through controversial amnesty bill
6th January 2023
A TD has threatened to name all the British soldiers who murdered civilians on Bloody Sunday if a controversial legacy bill is passed in Britain.
Aontú leader and Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín said his party will be left with little choice if the proposal, which draws a line under prosecutions for killings in the Troubles, becomes law at Westminster.
He said: “It’s a grossly unjust bill that will deny truth and justice from families that have battled, in certain cases, for half a century to find out why and how their loved ones were murdered.
“It would be a gross injustice for these families if the perpetrators of these murders are allowed to die in anonymity.
“If the bill passes, we would have no choice but to put the names of the [people who perpetrated the] murders on Bloody Sunday into the public domain by putting them on the record in Leinster House.”
Mr Tóibín has previously publicly named Soldier F, who was accused of five killings on Bloody Sunday in Derry on January 30, 1972.
The Saville Inquiry into the events of Bloody Sunday 51 years ago found that Soldier F had shot at least five people and that all 13 murdered by British troops had been innocent and unarmed.
The Government here has already condemned the North of Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill, which is winding its way through the House of Lords in Britain.
The purpose of this bill, instigated by former UK Prime Minster Boris Johnson, is to provide an amnesty to British military personnel for killings committed in Ireland, as well as curbing the right to reopen killings by nationalists and loyalists.
Maisie McLaughlin, the great granddaughter of Bloody Sunday victim Bernard McGuigan, sits on shoulders during a remembrance walk last year to mark the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Derry. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire© Provided by Independent.ie
“It would allow British state forces to get away with murder in the North of Ireland,” Mr Tóibín said.
“It is contrary to human rights law and is a threat to the Good Friday Agreement. These families have suffered so much for so long to get to the truth.
“In many cases the battle has become inter-generational, with grandchildren now leading campaigns for the truth.
“It is clear to me that this amnesty bill is a direct continuation of the British state policy to murder these people and to cover it up at the time.
“Fifty years and more may have passed in some cases, but the same unlawful instincts are front and centre in the British approach.”
Irish politicians have met with members of Congress in Washington DC, as well as with MPs and members of the House of Lords in London. They have done this to try and create as much pressure as possible “to make the British Government see sense”, Mr Tóibín said.
“Aontú has also urged the Government to go on the record that they will bring the British Government to the European Court of Human Rights if the British proceed with this Bill,” he said.
He added that an outcome of the legislation would be that, in all the massacres the British Government was involved in, the names of the murdered would be known but the names of their murderers would not.
“Naming alleged murderers in the Dáil would not be something that I would normally countenance. A court of law is the place where evidence is weighed up,” said Mr Mr Tóibín.
“Naming alleged murderers could also be used by the defence as potentially damaging the right to a fair trial. In a liberal democracy, an accused has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court.
“But a normal liberal democracy does not murder its citizens. A normal liberal democracy does not give an amnesty to those murderers. A normal liberal democracy does not pass a law such as this.”