05 December 2005

SDLP to pressure Ahern over on-the-run amnesty


05/12/2005 - 07:04:40

The SDLP will today demand Taoiseach Bertie Ahern puts pressure on the British government to drop plans for controversial legislation which could see on-the-run terror suspects avoid prosecution.

Mark Durkan, SDLP leader, has insisted that the Bill would let paramilitaries and rogue army members off the hook.

He is due to meet the Taoiseach along with a party delegation at government buildings in Dublin.

A spokesperson for the SDLP said: “We will be raising our demand for the withdrawal of the NI Offences Bill which lets state killers off the hook. We want to see it replaced by a process which serves truth and victims.

“We will also be raising the need for full protection of human rights in community restorative justice schemes; pushing our North South agenda; and looking at strategies to get the Good Friday Agreement up and running in its entirety.”

Under the Bill, those suspected of unsolved crimes during the Troubles, can avoid going to jail by applying to a certification commissioner.

Following the application on-the-run paramilitaries, rogue members of the police and army and other people suspected of crimes before 1998 may be granted a licence guaranteeing they will not be prosecuted for involvement in certain crimes.

But if they offend again, their licence may be revoked and they could be sent to jail.

An SDLP spokesperson also said the party would be voicing its concerns over the new board of the Parades Commission after prominent Portadown Orangeman was appointed to the body.

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