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Congress members raise ‘legacy issues’ with British ambassador

Ambassador Kim Darroch

 

By Ray O’Hanlon

It should have arrived at the embassy by now.

A number of members of the House of Representatives from both parties have written to the British ambassador to the United States, Kim Darroch, raising the matter of legacy issues in Northern Ireland and their “genuine concerns” over the lack of action to resolve them.

The letter, dated April 16, was signed by sixteen members of the House including Reps. Richard Neal, Peter King, Joe Crowley and Chris Smith.

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“We continue to follow the lack of progress with regard to legacy issues in the North of Ireland and wish to share our genuine concerns,” the letter begins.

And it continues: “The search for a way to deal with the past has gone on now for many years. Hundreds of families who lost loved ones continue to wait for access to truth and justice, even though European law agree to be member states requires an effective investigation into these deaths.

“In particular, we are concerned by the ongoing absence of adequate resources for coroners’ investigations into deaths during the Troubles. We are also concerned by a proposal in Westminster for a statute of limitations for British military personnel.

“There are additional concerns at the approach of the United Kingdom on national security issues in relation to the essential work of the proposed Historical Investigations Unit in investigating the hundreds of outstanding cases.”

The representatives state that, taken together, they hope these moves “do not prolong delays or lead to a scenario in which truth and justice are effectively denied.”

The letter continues: “The establishment of the Stormont House legacy framework and addressing legacy inquests in the North is long overdue. We urge the British Government to do everything in its power to see these steps now taken, in a manner fully consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights.”

And it concludes: “As Members who have a continuing interest in the North, we wish to convey our genuine concerns about this important issue to you, and would welcome your response.”

In addition to the representatives named above, the letter was also signed by Reps. Eliot Engel, Daniel Donovan, Nita Lowey, Paul Tonko, Thomas Suozzi, James McGovern, Sean Patrick Maloney, Brendan Boyle, Frank Pallone Jr., Mike Quigley, Adriano Espaillet, and Jose Serrano.

 

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