Northern Ireland

Victims react to NI attorney general's call to end Troubles prosecutions

John Larkin
Image caption John Larkin has called for an end to prosecutions for Trouble-related killings that took place prior to 1998

The families of those who have lost loved ones during the Troubles have been giving their reaction to Northern Ireland's attorney general's call for an end to prosecutions for Troubles-related killings.

John Larkin said there should be no further police investigations, inquests or inquiries into any Trouble-related killings that took place before the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Kate Nash, sister of man shot dead by the Army on Bloody Sunday

"I'm absolutely incensed by what the attorney general is saying - my brother didn't matter, my brother was murdered almost 42 years ago.

"The fact of the matter is, the evidence is there from many, many cases, including the Bloody Sunday cases, to convict soldiers. They simply refuse to use it, so to me, this is another get out of jail free card."

Colin Parry, father of IRA murder victim

"I think most victims would say this feels like the wrong move at the wrong time. Maybe in time, but I think it's probably too early.

"There are still many people out there campaigning for justice, even if it's a long shot that they'll get it.

"I know the practicalities are very slim of a successful prosecution, and the victims know that, but for the government to be saying 'we will draw a line' is, in a sense, abandoning them."

John Finucane, son of loyalist murder victim

"In respect of my family, we've made a decision a very long time ago that the prosecutions was not something that we were interested in or focused on. We felt that seeking the truth and seeking prosecutions were probably mutually exclusive and that the two would not really fit.

"The criminal justice system is there to secure prosecutions and it does not give families any right to challenge evidence or examine evidence - really we don't think that is a good model of relief or comfort for families."

Mark Eakin, whose nine-year-old sister Kathryn was the youngest victim of the 1972 Claudy bombing

"I watched a programme on TV, myself, a week or so ago, about looking for the Nazi war criminals, that is still going on after 68 years.

"Nobody has decided to say to them, 'right you can walk on boys, have a good day', so I don't see why that should be handed out to anybody who was involved in the war crimes, as I would call them, in Ireland, be that republicans, loyalists or the governments."

Stephen Gault, whose father Samuel was killed in the 1987 IRA Poppy Day bombing in Enniskillen

"How dare he airbrush the innocent people who were murdered at the hands of terrorists to move things forward. I just think it's totally disgusting.

"Mr Larkin said if I wanted any help with reference to Enniskillen don't be afraid to give me a shout and now he turns round and says this?

"It's totally, totally disgusting - my father's murder and countless thousands of others are just being brushed under the carpet to move things forward."

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aiden was killed in the August 1998 Real IRA attack in Omagh

"He is saying: 'If you murder enough people, the government will make a deal with you and you will eventually get off'. These people should be pursued.

"This province has suffered some of the worst serial killings in Europe. People are entitled to the type of justice we have had in Britain for 1,000 years. We cannot be regionalised as part of the UK."

Mickey McKinney, whose brother William was killed on Bloody Sunday

"I think this man's comments are totally ridiculous. I would be very angry, my brother and everybody else who was shot dead on Bloody Sunday was murdered, it was state murder, it would cause outrage.

"My family, and I am sure all the other families, would be very, very angry at this. I think it would change things a whole lot. What they (the soldiers) did that day, they have to be held accountable for."

Rev Alan Irwin, whose father and uncle were murdered by the IRA

"Murder is murder is murder and I think everyone has the right to justice. I think it's maybe a remark to gauge reaction from the wider public.

"But every one of us has a right to justice and a right for perpetrators to be brought to justice, irrespective of when that happened.

"Murder is the same today as it was in 1990 and 1972 and 1986, it's still the same, it's no different, it doesn't change. Justice has to prevail in the end.

"We talk about peace but unless we have peace with justice, what price is the peace going to be?"

Kathryn Stone, Victims Commissioner

"I am puzzled and disappointed to hear this announcement. I think victims will be bewildered at this announcement, which will have come completely out of the blue to them as it has to me.

"I think 'moving on' is perhaps one of the most offensive and insulting things you could say to many victims. How is it possible to move on when you were seriously injured when a bomb was put under your car? How is it possible to move on when you saw your father blown to pieces in front of you?"

Justice for the Forgotten, which represents victims of the Troubles from the Republic of Ireland

"The attorney general's proposal is bizarre and a betrayal of victims. Mr Larkin's suggestion is incredible, especially as he has a good record of reopening historical inquests.

"It is just an opinion which is unlikely to ever happen."

Ballymurphy Massacre Families

"Legal processes such as inquests can be an important element of a wider truth-finding process.

"It is only through legal processes that the rule of law and confidence in the criminal justice system can be restored."

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