Docklands bombing victims condemn Troubles ‘amnesty’ plan

Office buildings in London’s Docklands, which were devastated in an IRA bomb blast in 1996 (David Giles/PA) (PA Wire)
19:55pm, Wed 04 Aug 2021
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Victims of the IRA Docklands bombing have condemned Government proposals to end prosecutions for Troubles offences as “immoral and abhorrent”.

Two people were killed and many others injured by the IRA bomb, which had been left in a lorry in the London Docklands on February 9 1996.

Some of those who were hurt, as well as family members of victims, met with officials from the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) on Wednesday to outline their opposition to the Government plans.

Last month, Northern Ireland Secretary of State Brandon Lewis announced that he intends to introduce legislation to create a proposed statute of limitations which would end all prosecutions for incidents up to April 1998 and would apply to military veterans as well as ex-paramilitaries.

The killing of innocent people, including children, and leaving people severely disabled are undoubtedly crimes against humanity and should never be given immunity from prosecution

The proposals, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson said would allow Northern Ireland to “draw a line under the Troubles”, would also end all legacy inquests and civil actions related to the conflict.

The plan has been heavily criticised by all the main political parties in Northern Ireland as well as the Irish Government, and a range of victims’ and survivors’ groups.

A statement on behalf of the Docklands Victims Association said: “This has caused immense distress to all the innocent victims of the Troubles.

“On behalf of all the victims of the Troubles within mainland GB, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland we have expressed to the Northern Ireland Office our concerns as we feel very strongly that no amnesty should be issued.

“The killing of innocent people, including children, and leaving people severely disabled are undoubtedly crimes against humanity and should never be given immunity from prosecution.

“This would be immoral and abhorrent to any civilised society.”

The Docklands victims said Labour MP Meg Hillier had written to Brandon Lewis over Government plans to deal with legacy in Northern Ireland (PA) (PA Archive)

The statement added: “Our MP Meg Hillier has written to Brandon Lewis and we recently initiated an online petition against this amnesty and so far with have received approximately 1,000 signatures opposing this absurd proposal.

“In addition a number of letters and emails have been sent by the victims and their families to prevent this absurd legislation.

“We feel any kind of amnesty for those who commit terrorist atrocities such as those witnessed during the Troubles would encourage and inspire other new terrorists who try to achieve their aims by horrific violence.”

Docklands Victims Association president Jonathan Ganesh (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)

Jonathan Ganesh, who was injured in the 1996 bombing, said: “Our offices have been inundated with calls, letters and emails concerning the UK Government’s proposal. I was pleased to meet with the NIO but I do not feel they have thought this policy through.

“Murder is a heinous crime and any kind of immunity from a crime of such magnitude is immoral and devalues humanity.”

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