Ireland considers legal move against UK ‘Troubles’ amnesty

Dublin (AFP): Ireland is considering legal action against a proposed UK law that would grant immunity to combatants involved in decades of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, the Financial Times reported Monday.

“We have asked for legal advice,” Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin told the paper.

“I’ll get that legal advice in the next fortnight, and then we’ll consider that in terms of what action we subsequently take.”

The proposed law, which is being considered by the UK parliament, would create a truth and recovery commission offering amnesty to British security personnel and paramilitaries if they cooperate with its enquiries.

Dublin is looking at whether it would be incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The bill, introduced in May 2022, would cover the three decades of sectarian violence known as The Troubles.

More than 3,500 people were killed during the conflict that began in the 1960s over British rule in Northern Ireland.

Around 1,200 deaths remain under investigation, according to the UK government.

The bill, which goes before parliament next week, has been condemned by families of those who died during that period, by all political parties in Northern Ireland and the Irish government.

Europe’s leading rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, has expressed “serious concerns” about the proposed law.

But the bill has been welcomed by groups representing British veterans of that period, who argue that former soldiers have been subjected to unfair prosecutions.

In November 2022, for the first time since the end of the conflict in 1998, British soldier David Holden received a three-year suspended sentence for having killed a man at a checkpoint, shooting him in the back.