Northern Ireland news

Victims' protest letter to be handed in at Downing Street

A cross community group of victims have met with politicians from both sides of the border in Belfast in advance of travelling to Downing Street and Westminster on Monday 6th September..Raymond McCord, Julie Hambleton (Birmingham bombing families), Michael Gallagher, Billy McManus, Cathy McIlvenny, Eugene Reavey, and John Teggart are pictured at Belfast city hall with local and RoI political representatives. .Picture by Hugh Russell.

A CROSS-community group representing Troubles' victims will today deliver a letter to Downing Street rejecting British government proposals for a statute of limitations for conflict-related offences.

The group is spearheaded by John Teggart, whose father Danny was killed by the British army in Ballymurphy in 1971, and Raymond McCord, whose son Raymond Jnr was killed by the UVF in 1997.

Last month the group gathered signatures of politicians from all the main parties on both sides of the border rejecting the plans for what they term an "amnesty".

In July, Secretary of State Brandon Lewis announced that he plans to introduce a statute of limitations banning all prosecutions of Troubles-related killings and other crimes up to 1998. The plan will also halt all legacy inquests and civil cases.

Speaking ahead of today's visit to London, which includes a protest at House of Commons and a meeting with MPs, Mr Teggart said the aim was "twofold".

"Firstly it is to stop these disgusting, insane proposals and secondly to highlight what victims and survivors really want – investigations, prosecutions, inquests and civil and legal actions must remain – and there can no amnesty for murder," he said.

"The message and focus is simple – the present and future governments must allow proper due process according to the law to take place. Murder is murder and a crime irrespective of who is involved."

Mr Teggart said the secretary of state had "not spoken to or contacted" those involved in today's protest since announcing the controversial plan.

"Neither him or Boris Johnson speak on behalf of the thousands of victims and families these proposals will affect. It is clear they havent listened to the victims," he said.

"The British government is not sincere in claiming they are helping victims and families whose loved ones have been murdered. Bluntly, they have lied to us and the public."

Mr McCord claimed the proposals were designed to "prevent and hide the British government's and security agencies involvement in murders and with terrorists in the pay of the state".

"It's certainly not to help victims move on," he said.

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Northern Ireland news