Actor Ciaran Hinds urges Liz Truss to ditch Northern Ireland legacy Bill

·3-min read

Oscar-nominated actor Ciaran Hinds has urged Prime Minister Liz Truss to scrap a controversial Bill aimed at resolving Northern Ireland’s troubled past.

The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill, which proposes an effective amnesty for Troubles crimes for people who co-operate with an information body, has sparked widespread opposition.

It is set to go to the House of Lords for a second reading in the coming weeks as Parliament returns.

Hinds wrote an open letter to Ms Truss warning that the Bill would “permanently cut off any prospect of justice” for bereaved families.

The Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy star has urged a rethink on the Bill which he says victims of the Troubles are unanimously opposed to.

He recently starred in Kenneth Branagh hit Belfast, for which he was nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar, and said it showed how frightening and violent the Troubles were.

“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,” the Belfast-born actor wrote.

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

“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.

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

Hinds raised 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”.

Majella O’Hare shooting
Majella O’Hare (PA)

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

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

“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.

Grainne Teggart
Grainne Teggart (Brian Lawless/PA)

“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.”

There is almost universal opposition to the proposed legislation which would see an effective amnesty offered for people accused of Troubles offences as long as they co-operate with a new truth recovery body.

It is also set to halt future civil cases and inquests linked to killings during the conflict.

The Bill has been through the House of Commons and is set for consideration by the House of Lords.