Deputy Brendan Smith

Legacy Act branded "an appalling piece of legislation" by TD

The controversial legislation passed by Britain to deal with the legacy f the conflict in the North "betrays victims and their families" according to a local Fianna Fáil TD.

Brendan Smith, has reiterated his deep concern and disappointment that the British Government's Legacy Act has passed through the House of Commons and House of Lords.

The Government believes that the legislation, which is a unilateral departure from the Stormont House Agreement, is not fit for purpose, and raises fundamental issues around compatibility with international human rights obligations.

On raising this issue with the Taoiseach, Deputy Brendan Smith said, "The only credible thing to do with this legislation would be to bin it in its entirety. As I have said in this House so often, it absolves those responsible for conflict-related murders and other deplorable crimes of such evil and vile deeds.

"To add insult to injury and shamefully, this is under the guise of reconciliation. This legislation dismissively betrays victims and their families, adding to their long-standing grief and trauma.

"It must be clearly stated again and again in blunt terms to the British Prime Minister that he must take cognisance of the concerns of all advocacy groups working on behalf of victims and a shared view from both political traditions on this island, from all political groupings, from human rights organisations nationally and internationally, and from the Council of Europe.''

In response the Taoiseach said he was in agreement with Deputy Smith's remarks on this matter and that he hoped to have the opportunity to speak to the Prime Minister next week at the European Political Community meeting.

"We will once again have an opportunity to impress on him the deeply felt opposition of the Government, of the five major parties in Northern Ireland, and particularly of victims' groups and survivors," said Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. "This is not the right approach. We believe it will be struck down, if not in the UK Supreme Court then in the European Court of Human Rights, but it should not come to that.''