Colum Eastwood asks Brandon Lewis to explain statute of limitations to widow of IRA bomb victim Patsy Gillespie

Colum Eastwood has invited Brandon Lewis to visit the widow of IRA bomb victim Patsy Gillespie to explain his proposals for a statute of limitations for all Troubles-related killings.

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 3:07 pm

This afternoon the Secretary of State outlined a range of proposals for dealing with the past.

They include a new independent body to help families secure information, an oral history initiative, and a cut-off point for prosecutions that critics, including the SDLP leader, are branding a de facto amnesty for British soldiers and republican and loyalist combatants.

Speaking in the British House of Commons this afternoon Mr. Eastwood said: "In October 1990 Patsy Gillespie was abducted from his home by the IRA.

"His family were told he would be back soon whilst they were held at gunpoint. Patsy was then chained to the driver seat of a van filled with explosives and forced to drive that van to a nearby army base.

"The IRA then remotely detonated that bomb killing Patsy and five soldiers. Will the Secretary of State come with me and explain to his widow Kathleen why he wants to protect his killers from prosecution and even investigation?"

Mr. Lewis replied: "I would happily meet with him to talk to any victim about the experience they have been through and why we need to be honest with them about what is achievable in how we help Northern Ireland move forward in a positive way."