Domhnall Ó’Catháin.

Brehons Lambaste Legacy Bill

The Brehon Law Society of New York has cast a legal eye over the British government's legacy bill, currently before parliament.

Suffice it to say, it's a jaundiced eye.

In a statement the Brehons said: "This week in London, the disastrous Northern Ireland Troubles Bill will take another step towards becoming legislation as it goes through the committee stage.

"This is where members of the House of Lords do a line-by-line examination of the Bill and make suggested amendments. Line-by-line examination of the Bill will tell the Lords what everyone already knows: this legislation is only designed to protect crimes committed by British security agents from being exposed. 

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"Not only is the legislation opposed by every political party on the island of Ireland; it is opposed by the Labor Party in Britain which is currently polling 26% ahead of the ruling Conservative government. Within the past few days, it is has been criticized by Volker Türk , the UN High Commission for Human Rights, and by a bipartisan group of 27 members of Congress.

"Amnesty International has described it as a Bill that has “victims’ rights sacrificed to shield perpetrators." Dunja Mijatović, the Council of Europe Commission for Human Rights, has stated that the legacy bill cuts off avenues to justice to victims. 

Most observers agree that if the Bill becomes legislation, it will eventually be judged to be illegal; but that doesn’t bother the mandarins and ultra conservative Tories in London who only want to buy more time while the victims grow older. 

"The attitude of the current London government is best summed up by the words of Ben Wallace, the British Defence Secretary, who last week called the current court cases brought by victims of British Army violence during the Troubles as a 'merry-go-round.'

"Cruel, but not surprising considering the fact that Secretary Wallace served as a Scots Guard with the British Army in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. “Nemo Me Impune Lacessit” reads the motto for the Scots Guard in Latin or “Cha toga m’fhearg gun díoladh” in Scots Gaelic or “No one provokes me with impunity” in English.

"Apparently, his fellow British soldiers could provoke, conspire, and murder in Ireland, all with impunity."

The statement was signed by Domhnall Ó’Catháin, President of the Brehon Law Society of New York.

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