Amendment 116

Part of Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill - Committee (3rd Day) – in the House of Lords at 9:30 pm on 29 March 2023.

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Photo of Lord Murphy of Torfaen Lord Murphy of Torfaen Labour 9:30, 29 March 2023

My Lords, obviously I have a lot of sympathy with the amendments. I have never really agreed with the phrase that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. There is never any sort of justification for killing innocent people, particularly women and children and people going about their business. The only killing I suppose you can justify—and even that is doubtful—is in wars, if you have to do it in self-defence or whatever. There is no justification for the wickedness that accompanies such terrorism—none whatsoever. It offends both my human and my Christian principles; you cannot glorify these things.

However, I accept that there is a generational problem, as the noble Baroness, Lady Foster, said, for example. Just after the Good Friday agreement, there was a different feeling about the place, and as the generations go on and they forget what everybody has talked about today, things change and people’s attitudes change. Perhaps they ought to look at some pictures of the mayhem, murder and destruction caused by terrorism. I have said it before in the Chamber that one of the worst times in my political life, if not the worst, was when I had to go to Omagh two days after the bombing and talk to the relatives of the children who had been killed there. How on earth can we justify that sort of activity? There is no justification.

My own amendments refer specifically to people making money out of glorifying terrorism and that they should not be allowed so to do. The issue that the Minister faces is that, although everybody agrees that this is the wrong thing to do, how we then incorporate that into law and at the same time ensure that we all take into account what the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Eames, said to us today: this is all about reconciliation.