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Soldiers' amnesty calls are 'inevitable'

CALLS for Bloody Sunday soldiers to be granted amnesty on the back of a deal for IRA on-the-runs are inevitable and predictable, a senior Northern Ireland politician has said.

Mark Durkan, the SDLP Foyle MP, has said it is no surprise that former Northern Ireland Secretary of State Peter Hain is pushing the idea, which he said was a direct result of selfish misdealing by Sinn Fein. Mr Hain said it was clear for anyone who wanted to see that assurances given to IRA members were not get-out-of-jail cards, immunity or amnesty.


With full details of the scheme now public, Labour MP Mr Hain has said it would be a waste of police resources to prosecute soldiers who killed 14 unarmed people in Derry in 1972.

The political crisis over the handling of IRA on-the-runs was sparked when the trial of John Downey over the 1982 Hyde Park bomb collapsed last week.

"Those who have stood over the scheme have claimed that it doesn't imply an amnesty, and that everybody really knew everything about it," Mr Durkan said.

"Yet now, one of its authors is saying that the fact of the scheme should mean amnesty for everybody in relation to anything.

"If others had really known about the letters, they would have then been demanding indemnity for the security forces too," he added.