Irish Government hits back after reports UK authorities will ban Troubles-era prosecutions of British soldiers 1 month ago

Irish Government hits back after reports UK authorities will ban Troubles-era prosecutions of British soldiers

The ban would reportedly also include former IRA members.

The Irish government has hit back after reports that UK authorities are set to ban prosecutions of former British soldiers who served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

Advertisement

The Daily Telegraph and Times newspapers reported the move will be announced in Queen Elizabeth's speech next week.

The papers claim the legislation would introduce a statute of limitations, meaning there would be no prosecutions for any crimes committed before the signing of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

The ban would also reportedly include former members of the IRA and loyalist paramilitary organisations.

The Irish government had reportedly been aware that the UK was considering the possibility of the legislation, however, it remains fully committed to the 2014 Stormont House Agreement.

The agreement, which was agreed by all the main political parties in Northern Ireland, along with the Irish and British governments, included a proposal for an Independent Historical Investigations Unit to analyse any killings related to the Troubles.

A spokesperson for the Minister for Foreign Affairs told RTÉ News on Wednesday that victims and their families must remain "the only priority".

"The Irish government discussed with our UK colleagues the commitments of the Stormont House Agreement and strongly advised against any unilateral action on such sensitive issues," the spokesperson said.

Advertisement

"We reiterated that only through a collective approach can we deal with these issues comprehensively and fairly in a way that responds to the needs of victims, survivors, and society as a whole.

"Victims and their families are the only priority."

The legacy of the Troubles was allegedly discussed by Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and Northern Secretary Brandon Lewis during a meeting in Dublin on Wednesday.

However, it has been reported that an announcement was not suggested during the talks.

Social Democratic and Labour Party leader Colum Eastwood has also criticised the reported proposal.

Advertisement

"If true, this will be the biggest betrayal of victims by the British government and will put a huge obstacle in the way of true reconciliation," he said on Twitter.

"This is the most unprincipled and cynical British government in many years and that’s saying something. An absolute disgrace. Shame on them."