Fierce backlash after Karen Bradley says British army and R.U.C. killings were 'not crimes'

People in Derry and other parts of the North have reacted fiercely to comments made by Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley, that killings at the hands of the security forces during the Troubles were "not crimes".

Mrs. Bradley made the comments in the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday when she was responding to question from DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly about unsolved murders at the hands of paramilitaries during the Troubles.

NI Secretary Karen Bradley

NI Secretary Karen Bradley

"Over 90 per cent of the killings during the Troubles were at the hands of terrorists, every single one of those was a crime," said Mrs. Bradley.

"The fewer than 10 per cent that were at the hands of the military and police were not crimes.

"They were people acting under orders and under instruction and fulfilling their duty in a dignified and appropriate way."

Sinn Féin leader and MLA, Michelle O'Neill, described the Secretary of State's comments as "outrageous" and "offensive".

"The remarks by British Secretary of State Karen Bradley that killings carried out by British state forces were not crimes were outrageous and offensive.

"It follows on from comments by the British prime minster indicating that the British government is planning legislation to protect serving and former British soldiers who may have committed crimes.

"These comments are an insult to families who have lost loved ones at the hands of the British army, state agencies and their proxies in the loyalist death squads which were directed by the British state," said Mrs. O'Neill.

SDLP leader and MLA, Colum Eastwood, called for Mrs. Bradley to resign from her position as Secretary of State immediately.

"Karen Bradley is publicly interfering with the rule of law. No-one has the right to deliberately pressure or intervene with due process. She should resign," said Mr. Eastwood.

The sister of one of those killed by the British army in Derry on Bloody Sunday said Mrs. Bradley should "hang her head in shame".

"Hang your head in shame Karen Bradley," Tweeted Kate Nash whose 19 year-old brother, William Nash, was shot dead on January 30, 1972.

The son of murdered Belfast solicitor, Pat Finucane, said Mrs. Bradley's remarks were "indefensible".

"Legally, politically and morally these comments are indefensible, yet is it really surprising to hear a SoS publicly express the contempt we know the British govt. had for lives here?