Troubles victims accuse Government of abandoning them as Legacy Bill passes final hurdle

Victims of the Northern Ireland Troubles have accused the UK Government of abandoning them, after its controversial Legacy Bill passed its final hurdle at Westminster.

MPs on Tuesday rejected a Lords’ amendment to the Bill, which is now on the verge of becoming law.

It includes a form of limited immunity for some perpetrators of crimes committed during the Northern Ireland Troubles and would also prevent future civil cases and inquests into legacy offences.

Harry Gargan, brother of Margaret Gargan, who was shot dead by the British Army in the Springhill massacre when she was 13 in 1972, said: "It is heartbreaking because what we have always searched for is truth - not revenge, not people getting prosecuted - we just want the truth.

"I'm hoping our inquest will be completed, but it is thinking of other people that are coming behind us that are never going to get a chance of finding the truth of what happened to their loved ones."

Sammy Heenan, who was orphaned after his father was killed by the IRA on the family farm in Co Down in 1985, had a stark message for the Government: "Please, please, listen to the voice of victims.

"We've suffered so much pain, so much anguish.

"I witnessed my father being brutally murdered, like so many other people, listen and respect us.

"We're all speaking with one voice here, so please, please, recognise what we've come through."

Prominent victims campaigner Raymond McCord said he would take the Government to court Credit: Rebecca Black/PA

Campaigner Raymond McCord, whose son Raymond Jnr was murdered by loyalists in 1997, said the Government had shown no compassion for victims.

He said: “With the Conservatives using their majority in the House of Commons today to impose their Legacy Bill against the wishes of the victims of the Troubles, victims’ groups, every other political party in the UK and Ireland.

“My next step is taking the Government to court.

“The Government simply don’t care about truth and justice.

“After the vote in the Commons today all political action is complete.

“However the outcome of the Bill will be decided by the courts.”

Mr McCord added: “The democratic justice process that has been in place for hundreds of years will be destroyed by a Conservative Government with no morals, sense of compassion for victims or respect for human rights laws.”

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