NI Police’s first ombudsman delivers moving speech on loss of unborn child in IRA bomb

NI Police’s first ombudsman delivers moving speech on loss of unborn child in IRA bomb
NI Police’s first ombudsman delivers moving speech on loss of unborn child in IRA bomb

Northern Ireland’s first police ombudsman has recalled losing his unborn baby after surviving an IRA bomb in 1977.

In a moving speech to the House of Lords, Baroness Nuala O’Loan, who held the newly created post from 1999 to 2007, said “the legacy of The Troubles lives on in all our hearts” as she remembered having survived the explosion while pregnant in Jordanstown. .

The Troubles in Northern Ireland (Inheritance and Reconciliation) Bill had its second reading in the House of Lords on Wednesday.

The bill provides an effective amnesty for those suspected of having killed during the conflict if they agree to cooperate with a new body, known as the Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery (Icrir).

The bill would also bar future civil cases and investigations related to disorderly crimes.

It was almost universally opposed by parties of all political stripes in Northern Ireland as well as by all victims’ groups.

“I am thinking (of all) those who have been affected by the Troubles and I include everyone who has been affected by the deaths here in Westminster – I am thinking of Airey Neave – and I am thinking of all the bombshells that have happened here in England,” said Baroness O’Loan, who is an independent counterpart.

“And they live in my heart for my lost baby who died before birth in a bomb blast. They live in the terrible sectarian attack, the murderous attack on my son.”

She went on to say that there was an investigation but “we always knew the investigation would come to nothing because people were so scared of the loyalist paramilitaries that no one would come forward to testify”.

The former ombudsman added: “That’s the legacy and the reality of life in Northern Ireland.”

Baroness O’Loan has five sons with her husband, former SDLP MP Declan O’Loan.

In her speech, Baroness O’Loan went on to criticize the Bill’s inclusion of reviews instead of inquiries, and what she claimed was ‘the extensive involvement of the Secretary of State in the provisions “.

Speaking ahead of the bill’s reading, NI Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris said: ‘I have made it clear that the government will seriously consider amending this bill.

“The changes announced today reflect the significant engagement that has taken place on the bill and are intended to address concerns raised by many stakeholders.”

As he outlined the proposed changes, Northern Ireland Office minister Lord Caine revealed he personally found the controversial legislation “extremely difficult”.

The amendments included confirmation that the commission will be able to conduct criminal investigations and ensure that those who deliberately mislead it can be prosecuted and have their immunity revoked.

Sentencing legislation would also be inapplicable to those who choose not to tell the commission what they know and are then convicted of an offence, so they risk a full sentence rather than a sentence reduced, while the fine for non-compliance would also be increased.

Measures will also be taken to strengthen the independence of the commission.

Opening second reading debate in the Upper House, Lord Caine said: “I am the first to acknowledge that some of the proposals outlined in this Bill have met with less than universal acclaim in Northern Ireland itself.

“I fully understand that for many this legislation, despite some significant changes…remains deeply challenging. And being completely frank, I count myself among that number. Personally, I found this legislation extremely difficult.

Earlier, he told his peers: “More than two-thirds of The Troubles cases are now over the age of 40 and it is commonly accepted that the likelihood of prosecution, regardless of resources, is extremely low.

“The government therefore felt that better outcomes for families are more likely to be achieved through a process of information retrieval, recognition and accountability.”

Labor leader of the Lords, Baroness Smith of Basildon, said: “Passing this Bill, without significant amendment, could create a structure – it will establish a new commission – but unless it has the understanding and support from those who have a vested interest is not going to make a difference.

Raising concerns, the former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales Lord Judge said: ‘We are being asked to legislate to ensure that men and women guilty of murder are exempt from prosecution.

“If the bill is enacted in its current form, they will literally get away with it or get away with murder.

“And they will have gotten away with some of the most deliberate, cold-blooded killings we have seen in this country.”

Former Northern Ireland Labor Secretary Lord Hain said: ‘The word reconciliation appears in the title of this Bill and there is a cruel irony to that because this Bill is not about reconciliation and if adopted, it would not help the reconciliation.

“Because it’s basically about telling the victims and survivors of the Troubles in Northern Ireland that what happened to you and your loved ones doesn’t matter anymore.

“And to the perpetrators of some of the most horrific crimes imaginable, what you did no longer matters.

“What is stated in this bill is utterly shameful and I cannot support it.”

He added: “The effect of this legislation would be to simply make some of the most heinous crimes disappear.

“It is an insult to victims and survivors and an affront to the rule of law.

“I am adamantly opposed to this bill and, given the opportunity, I will vote to kill it.”

His Ulster Unionist Party counterpart, Lord Rogan, called the legislation “unpleasant”.

He said: “The Ulster Unionist Party believe that those who have broken the law should be held accountable before the law, no matter who they are. Terrorists, police, military, civilians or politicians.

“We have always opposed the idea of ​​an amnesty.

“Victims and their families have the right to hold on to hope that they will one day obtain justice, even as they realize that over time this prospect becomes increasingly difficult.”

Former SDLP leader Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick said: “I honestly think this bill should be scrapped and scrapped now.”

. My baby is dead in a explosion first mediator police give speech moving on loss of a child be born in a bomb IRA

. Polices ombudsman delivers moving speech loss unborn child IRA bomb