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Belfast actor Ciarán Hinds urges PM Liz Truss to ditch Northern Ireland legacy Bill

Oscar-nominated actor Ciarán Hinds has urged Prime Minister Liz Truss to scrap the British government’s controversial legacy Bill.

Ciaran Hinds (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill proposes an amnesty for Troubles crimes for people who co-operate with a specially created body.

The legislation would halt all future civil cases and inquests linked to killings during the conflict.

It is due before the House of Lords for a second reading.

In an open letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Hinds – one of Britain and Ireland’s most acclaimed actors – warns the Bill, if enacted, will “permanently cut off any prospect of justice” for bereaved families.

Ciaran Hinds (centre) in Kenneth Branagh film Belfast (Rob Youngson/Focus Features/PA)

He points out that victims and bereaved families of the Troubles unanimously oppose the legislation.

“For the many families who lost loved ones that chapter is not closed, and cannot be, without the healing that only real justice can bring,” he wrote.

“The rule of law must apply to everyone, without favour. No-one, whether a state or non-state actor, should be above the law.

“I stand with the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, partners and grandparents of the victims, and all those who are united in strong opposition to your proposals set out in the legacy Bill to permanently deny Troubles victims paths to justice.

Majella O’Hare (PA)

“Victims deserve the same access to justice whether in Belfast or Bristol, Derry or Durham.”

Hinds raises the killing of 12-year-old Majella O’Hare, who was shot in the back by a soldier, noting that her brother Michael has been “fighting for 44 years for the independent investigation to which they are entitled”.

He concludes the letter: “Everyone is entitled to justice.”

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Grainne Teggart, Northern Ireland deputy programme director for Amnesty International UK, welcomed the letter.

Grainne Teggart (Brian Lawless/PA)

“Liz Truss has an opportunity to swiftly abandon this deeply unjust and cruel Bill and send a message that she stands with victims, for justice and the rule of law. Victims rightly expect and demand accountability,” she said.

“No one should be allowed to get away with murder, torture and other serious violations.

“It’s never too late to do the right thing.

“All eyes are on the Prime Minister’s next move. Will her tenure be a departure from this appalling attack on rights or will she shield perpetrators of horrific crimes, at the expense of victims.”

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