By Irish Echo Staff
The list of speakers for a Legacy Justice webinar, being hosted this coming weekend by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, has been expanded to include Sinn Fein Policing and Justice spokesperson, Gerry Kelly.
According to a release from the Hibernians, Kelly will join Relatives for Justice Director Mark Thompson, and two family representatives, Poilin Quinn and Jim Clinton, in a special live appeal for American support.
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Said the statement, issued by AOH Freedom for All Ireland chair Martin Galvin: “More than 3,000 victims’ relatives have now signed an open letter demanding legacy justice, which will be published in several major newspapers.
“They will be appealing for Irish American support in a live webinar broadcast, hosted by Hibernian National Presidents Danny O’Connell and Karen Keane this Saturday, January 23rd. Leaders of several other Irish American groups will participate in the webinar, which begins at 4 p.m. in Ireland, 11 a.m. eastern time. Watch on YouTube Live at: https://youtu.be/NgXYBthu7OQ.
Added Chiarman Galvin: “Families, who saw loved ones murdered by British crown forces, or loyalist agents, have never gotten the truth. Some have waited more than 50 years. Now, six years after agreeing to establish new legacy mechanisms offering a chance for justice, the British are planning to renege on the Stormont House Agreement, give amnesty to crown forces, and close down cases without investigation .
“Mark Thompson will outline the initiative being spearheaded by Relatives for Justice, and why more than 3,000 victims’ relatives signed the open letter and now ask American support in their fight for truth.
“Poilin Quinn’s brother John Quinn was murdered in Cappagh, County Tyrone, with Malcolm Nugent, Dwayne O’Donnell and Thomas Armstrong on March 3rd, 1991. There is strong evidence that this murder was carried out by off-duty members of the British Army’s Ulster Defense Regiment and is linked to a series of other collusion murders in East Tyrone.
“Jim Clinton’s wife, Teresa, was murdered in their home, off the Ormeau Road in Belfast, in April 1994. Both victims’ family representatives will describe personal experiences which are typical of what happened to every family member who signed the appeal.
“Former Long Kesh escapee, Stormont Assembly member Gerry Kelly, will explain why British are trying to hide the truth by reneging on the Stormont House Agreement.
“Members of other Irish American groups, including the Irish American Unity Conference, Irish Northern Aid, the Brehons and others are expected to participate.”
Galvin continued: “Families have a legal right to effective independent investigations, under European law. After years of negotiations, the British and Irish governments entered the Stormont House Agreement in December 2014. This international agreement, supported by the Stormont political parties, pledged four new legacy bodies including a Historical Investigations Unit, which could investigate controversial conflict killings including those by British forces or collusion killings. Britain now plans new laws which these victims’ families fear will shut down any chances of getting the truth.
“These families are simply asking Britain to comply with its legal obligations under European Law and keep pledges it made in the Stormont House Agreement and renewed last year in the New Decade New Approach agreement. Britain wants to renege because it cares more about protecting British crown forces from investigations than it does about justice for Irish victims. These families believe Irish American backing can help them get the justice to which they were always entitle.”