US urged to help stop legacy bill

A CONTROVERSIAL legacy bill which would see an end to Troubles-related prosecutions and inquests will also deny families from gaining healing and resolution with the past, according to a Tyrone-family whose father was brutally murdered.

Earlier this week the House of Lords rejected a provision in the bill that would give conditional immunity to perpetrators, however concern remains regarding the impact the legacy bill could have for families seeking truth.

Patsy Kelly, an Omagh district councillor from Trillick was abducted, murdered and dumped in a lake in July 1974.


The Kelly family recently received a key report from the Police Ombudsman which concluded that the conduct of police officers involved in the investigation into the murder amounted to ‘collusive behaviour’.

They have vowed to continue battling to have a fresh inquest held into the murder and are seeking a Judicial Review of a decision by the Attorney General last month to deny them that new inquest.

Speaking on a US discussion on the controversial legacy bill which included a member of the Congress, Cllr Kelly’s son, also Patsy, said the legislation is designed to inflict ‘as much pain and trauma as possible’ on victims and their families.

“Ultimately we are trying to get to a point of healing and resolution with the past. But how can we get to that point of healing and move on with our lives if we don’t know who we are supposed to forgive?” he asked.

“There are very many families in the same position as us, from both communities, who just want the truth. But those avenues are being shut down.

“It took us more than five years to get the report of the Police Ombudsman from when we undertook the original investigation. We have been continually seeking a fresh inquest into my father’s murder because numerous evidential leads weren’t submitted to the original inquest.”

Mr Kelly said it is important that the US Congress gives its backing to scrapping the legacy bill.


“For us the truth is paramount.” he continued. “The legacy bill will ensure that the truth is once and for all shut down for us and so many other families.”

In a separate development, West Tyrone MP, Orfhlaith Begley, last week took part at a demonstration against the legislation outside Westminster. She says the ‘cruel and callous’ bill shows how the British Government wants to ‘cover up the past.’

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