Hilary Meredith-Beckham supports Bill to end witch hunt of Northern Ireland veterans
Veterans’ Minister Johnny Mercer has expressed his pride at new legislation to end the witch hunt of Northern Ireland veterans despite threats of a legal challenge.
Mr Mercer said Britain must protect those who fought “for our way of life” and end “vexatious claims”.
The legislation will end Troubles-era court cases and inquests and give a conditional amnesty to those accused of killings and other Troubles-related crimes.
It will establish the Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery to take over legacy cases.
Mr Mercer told the Daily Express: “We have made a commitment to our veterans in Northern Ireland and we are going to see it through.”
He said the Northern Ireland Troubles Bill will get Royal Assent in September after delays in the Lords.
Asked about its critics he said: “There will of course be those who are unhappy – this is the really tough side of politics. This is all about doing the right thing and doing the responsible thing. We should be proud of it and we should see it through because we owe it to those who protect our way of life.”
Mr Mercer admitted it had been a “long, painful process” but was a moment the Office for Veterans’ Affairs and our veterans “can be extremely proud of.”
He added: “No one has tackled this for 25 years since the Good Friday Agreement.”
He said it “will provide a degree of protection from vexatious claims whilst allowing families to seek the truth and justice they deserve”.
Supporting the Bill, Hilary Meredith-Beckham, founder and chair of Hilary Meredith Solicitors said: “It has been a long time coming but Johnny Mercer has fought hard for this in a very complex and emotional situation for all involved. Taking the hard legal process out of these situations is definitely the way forward.”