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British Government “Legacy” Proposals Violate Good Friday Agreement and International Law.

A distinguished group of over 40 former congress members, diplomats, academics, and Irish American leaders have written to Secretary of State Blinken outlining their concern with the current British Governments proposals to end judicial investigations into the past, close down inquests, and deny families access to civil actions.

The group known as the “Ad Hoc Committee to Protect the Good Friday Agreement”, claimed the British Government was breaking the Agreements and the Law as well as turning its backs on victims and survivors and cutting off their access to the courts.

The letter urges the Biden Administration to use all possible diplomatic channels necessary to oppose this potential violation of the GFA without delay.

Cong Bruce Morrison, (ret) a Co-Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee stated, “In August of 2021 we sent a letter to Prime Minister Johnson outlining our concerns about the proposed Command Paper on the legacy issues. In that letter we stated that the Command Paper was at “odds with both the spirit and architecture of the Good Friday Agreement and would abrogate the hard-won compromise regarding legacy issues in the NDNA.” We went on to note that “It is tragic that so many years have been wasted with obfuscation and legal wrangling, but that does not justify abandoning the commitments made by the UK government to see the process through.” We find it incredibly unfortunate that at this juncture nothing has changed.

Cong James Walsh, (ret) also a Co-Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee stated, “In the last three years our Committee has held countless meetings with representatives of the British government to express our concerns about the protecting the Good Friday Agreement and to support the victims and survivors in their quest for truth and justice. This proposed legacy legislation unfortunately is part of a pattern of delay and obstruction that dates back fifty years to the infamous Lord Wiggery report regarding Bloody Sunday which faulted victims and survivors. The fact that all the political parties in Northern Ireland are united in opposition to the legislation is telling. Of greater concern is the callous disregard of the victims and survivors who have spent decades seeking truth and justice. We are now approaching the 25 Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement and we find it very disturbing that the UK Government is proceeding unilaterally in contrast to the joint actions of the British and Irish governments that have been central to the success of the GFA.”

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