29 November 2005

SDLP Voice Concern Over 'On The Runs' Legislation

Derry Journal

Tuesday 29th November 2005

The SDLP are to put a motion before Derry City Council today expressing concern at the recent government 'On The Runs' legislation. Speaking ahead of Tuesday's meeting, Colr. Colum Eastwood said the legislation only served to protect those involved in collusion from facing justice and denies the chance for justice and truth to all victims and the public. "We saw collusion in the past. Now we have collusion on the past --between the British Government and Sinn Fein in this legislation. Each covering up for the others wrongs, covering each others back," he said.
"This new 'On the Runs' legislation does not just apply to a few people. This applies to every single one of the 2,100 unsolved murders including well over 300 state killings. "Not only does this legislation deny families justice, it robs them of the truth. The 2,100 killers can sit back and wait to see if the police ever come knocking on their doors." Colr. Eastwood also hit out at Sinn Fein, claiming that the party negotiate only for themselves, not for Irish people. "Sinn Fein even negotiated with the British Government that they don't have to go down to court and listen to how they shattered victims' lives. They can apply from the comfort of their own homes to be an OTR. Imagine how the members of the British Army's murderous Force Research Unit will thank Sinn Fein for that" he said.
Colr. Eastwood added that if the British government proceed with the OTR Bill, the SDLP will be forced to table amendments at Westminster. "We will try and undo the damage done and prevent the wrongs that this corrupt law would bring. And if we cannot have justice, we must at least pursue truth" he said.
Commenting of the SDLP's stance on OTRs, Sinn FÈin Council group leader Maeve McLaughlin said: "The SDLP's hypocrisy on the issue of victims has been truly exposed. "They are attempting to make maximum political capital by now championing the very families they ignored or rejected in the past. On two occasions, the SDLP was invited to meet the families of victims of collusion at both Westminster and Stormont and on both occasions not one SDLP Assembly Member or MP met with them. "Even when it came to supporting a motion to Derry City Council, penned by the family of the late Eddie Fullerton, a colleague of ours and a much-respected fellow councillor, the SDLP played politics and refused to back the family's wishes. "When the motion came again before council just a matter of weeks ago, they took the opportunity to force through an amendment which failed to recognise the injustices that goes to the core of his murder - that it was carried out with the assistance of the British state and subsequently covered up, possibly in both jurisdictions."

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