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  • Writer's pictureGreg O'Loughlin

Brehon Law Society of New York releases Statement on Torture by British Government Security Forces

The Brehon Law Society of New York released a statement this week saluting the determination and tenacity of the Hooded Men and decrying proposed legacy legislation. President of the Brehon Law society of New York, Domhnall Ó’Catháin, said:

"In 1971, the British government rounded up 342 young men throughout Northern Ireland and detained them without trial. For seven days, fourteen of those men were hooded and cuffed, kept in stress positions, denied food and water, beaten, and thrown out of low-flying helicopters. None of these men was ever convicted of a crime. In 2021, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom agreed and acknowledged that these men were tortured by the British.

Finally over the past few days, the Police Service of Northern Ireland has written apologies to these men and their families and acknowledged that they were, in fact, tortured.

It took 52 years, a parliamentary inquiry, a case before the European Commission of Human Rights, and a domestic case that went to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom before a one-page apology was issued. One of the victims, Joe Clarke, received his apology last Thursday, four days before he died. Seán McKenna, another victim, never received an apology in his lifetime.

There is litigation before the Courts that has been filed by the victims and their families. Now is time for financial redress to properly compensate the victims and their families for the torture and loss of enjoyment of life that they have suffered.

The right to access the Courts and to hold the British Government to account through the legal system is vital to all the folks who suffered during the Troubles. The London Government amnesty legislation does everything to destroy the path to justice for victims.

We salute the Hooded Men and their families who persevered and continue to persevere for justice. You fought for the truth and, in doing so, exposed British Government torture."

Domhnall Ó’Catháin

President, Brehon Law Society of New York

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