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Double trouble: Irish in rare show of unity over UK plan to ...

World

Double trouble: Irish in rare show of unity over UK plan to spare killers

Many Northern Irish families refuse to bury the hatchet over the 3,500-plus people murdered in the 30-year conflict

Kitty Donaldson

Louie Johnston was seven years old when his father, a police officer in Northern Ireland, was shot dead while on patrol in the town of Lurgan. A quarter of a century later, Johnston says his hopes that the killer will one day stand trial could be about to fade further.

The UK government is planning legislation designed to help Northern Ireland draw a line under the so-called Troubles that blighted the region for three decades. Under the plan, which was debated in the UK parliament for the first time on Tuesday, the authorities will seek to address more than 1,000 of the unsolved murders from the era. Anyone who genuinely cooperates with investigations will get immunity from prosecution.

The proposed bill has divided a region synonymous with tension between the mainly Protestant unionists, or loyalists, who want Northern Ireland to remain part of the UK and the predominantly Catholic nationalists who want an end to British rule. Yet, rather than along sectarian lines, the split is between families seeking justice and people who say it’s time both communities moved on. ..

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