‘Get serious about legacy’

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has warned Boris Johnson his past dalliances with apologists for ex-soldiers accused of committing atrocities during the Conflict must end now.

Sunday, 4th August 2019, 12:00 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th August 2019, 1:00 pm

The Foyle MP made the point as part of a Sinn Féin leadership delegation that had its first meeting with the newly incumbent Prime Minister on Wednesday.

Mr. Johnson recently said former soldiers should not be “unfairly prosecuted”.

Mrs. McCallion said this was raised with him during their meeting this week.

“Boris Johnson claimed in the meeting that his government is still committed to the legacy process agreed in the Stormont House Agreement.

“However, the evidence on the ground paints a very different picture given the ongoing refusal by the British Government to implement that agreement.

“I told Boris Johnson that if he is serious about the legacy agreement then he needs to get on with implementing it and he needs to end the lauding of former British soldiers who are accused of murder and other crimes during the conflict in Ireland,” said the Foyle MP.

The Derry MP said outlandish arguments by Mr. Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May and many of his colleagues, that former British servicemen were being unfairly and disproportionately prosecuted, have been routinely demolished.

Military cases account for 30 per cent of the PSNI’s legacy workload. Meanwhile it has been shown that while numerous republican and loyalist combatants were prosecuted through the courts and many imprisoned, alleged crimes of the British Army were rarely ever pursued.

“We have witnessed repeated and false claims from successive British Ministers about a so-called witch-hunt against former British soldiers. Such claims are deeply offensive and hurtful to victims.

“They are also patently untrue as evidenced by the facts from the PSNI and the Director of Public Prosecutions,” said Mrs. McCallion.

She insisted that Mr. Johnson, and his representative in the North, Julian Smith, needed to keep faith with the Good Friday Agreement and its successor accords.

“If Boris Johnson is anyway committed to an agreement on dealing with the past, then he needs to ensure that his government and his ministers stop feeding a narrative that former British soldiers are somehow entitled to be exempt from the rule of law,” the Foyle MP said.