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Brother of murdered Majella (12) says statute of limitations ‘unacceptable betrayal’

Michael O'Hare - who is calling for an independent investigation into the 1976 killing - said the proposals by Westminster for dealing with the past are 'trying to deny us meaningful truth and justice forever'

Majella O'Hare

The brother of a 12-year-0ld girl shot dead by the British Army in 1976 has slammed proposals by Westminster for dealing with the past in Northern Ireland which include a statute of limitations.

The proposal has been rejected by Amnesty International, which is supporting Michael O’Hare in calling for an independent investigation into the murder of his sister, Majella.

Mr O’Hare condemned the proposals, branding them an “utter betrayal” and insisted: “They must not succeed.”

Twelve-year-old Majella was shot dead by a British soldier in on August 14, 1976. She was on her way to church with a group of friends in the south Armagh village of Whitecross.

They walked past an army patrol and, when she was about 20 or 30 yards beyond it, a soldier shot Majella with his machine gun.

In 2011, the Ministry of Defence apologised for the killing, but no-one has ever been held accountable for it.

Michael O’Hare, supported by Amnesty, is calling for an independent investigation into the killing.

He said: “These proposals are an utter and unacceptable betrayal – they must not succeed. The UK government is inflicting great pain on my family and other victims denied justice.

“Our Majella had her life cruelly robbed, at the tender age of 12, by bullets from a soldier’s machine gun. She was an innocent child with her whole life ahead of her. The Ministry of Defence apologised to my family, but a proper investigation has never happened.

“The UK government is now trying to deny us meaningful truth and justice forever. I will never stop fighting for Majella – my sister deserves justice.

“I hope these proposals are firmly rejected. I call on all parties involved to end the perpetual cycle of victims being failed.”

In response to the UK government plans to end prosecutions of those who committed human rights abuses during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, Grainne Teggart, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Campaign Manager, said: “The UK Government is showing an appalling and offensive disregard for victims; grossly dismissing their suffering and rights to truth, justice and accountability.

“In pursuing a statute of limitations to put state forces and other perpetrators above the law and beyond accountability, the government is debasing natural justice.

“People in the Northern Ireland have been clear in their rejection of a de facto amnesty.

“Many victims’ are having their worst fears realised in these proposals – the government is closing down paths to justice.”

“The Irish government, Northern Ireland political parties and members of the UK parliament must unequivocally reject these proposals and stand with victims.”

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