A victim of one of Northern Ireland’s worst bombings has warned unpublished new legislation risks telling dissident republicans they will be let off the hook.
Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan was one of 29 killed in the Real IRA Omagh blast in 1998, said where evidence existed the police needed to pursue it and there should be no impunity.
The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) is due to publish draft proposals next month giving effect to last year’s Stormont House Agreement and investigating thousands of Troubles deaths and injuries.
A five-year Independent Commission on Information Retrieval (ICIR) will be bound not to disclose information provided to it to law enforcement or intelligence agencies and this information will be inadmissible in criminal and civil proceedings, the accord said.
Mr Gallagher said: “For me this is going to send a message to the dissident republicans that you can do whatever you want and at the end of the process the Government will give in.”
He claimed the British and Irish governments wanted to “wash their hands” of the Troubles. The NIO has set aside up to £150 million over five years for historical investigations.
Mr Gallagher demanded people be held accountable.
“Justice must be done no matter how long it be.”
Briege Foyle, whose mother Joan Connolly was killed by British soldiers in Ballymurphy in West Belfast in 1971, said she wanted to know if any new organisation could tell her who killed her mother and asked what support would be given to victims after they received such information.
Raymond McCord, whose son Raymond McCord Jnr was beaten to death by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in 1997, asked a Belfast conference whether killers would be given an amnesty.
“These are paramilitaries who butchered men, women and children.”