Patricia Burns Speaks at Our Protest Outside High Court in Belfast.
Patricia's father Thomas Burns was murdered by the British Army in North Belfast in July 1972.
"I want to thank Time for Truth for organising today’s protest under the theme “Protect the Legal Rights of Victims”.
We are here again today at the High Court - as we have been many, many times in recent years - to express the opposition of our Families to the British government Legacy Act.
This legislation is the action of a rogue state; a state who fears that their master plan of torture, collusion and shoot to kill will be exposed.
The Legacy Act will pull the shutters down on the fundamental legal rights of Families to an investigation, inquest, and civil action.
In law, it will override the human rights of victims. It is straight from the playbook of Chilean Dictator Augusto Pinochet.
This whole British government approach to legacy has drawn widespread criticism from Families, NGOs, Political Parties, Churches, academics, the Human Rights Commission, the Council of Europe, the UN Rapporteurs, and the European Commissioner for Human Rights.
There has also been heavy criticism by the US Congress and Senate, the British Labour Party and the majority of members in the British House of Lords.
Together they know that the Legacy Act places the British government in breach of their International Human Rights obligations including the European Convention of Human Rights.
The courts are now the last line for defence for victims.
I am Patricia Burns
My father Thomas Burns was a former Royal Navy sailor. He was shot by the British army outside Glenpark Social Club in North Belfast in July 1972.
The first thing I remember about the morning of 14 July 1972 is the crowd of people that had gathered outside our home. I knew something wasn’t right.
I was then told me my father had been shot dead.
I still carry that moment of heartbreak with me, every single day. My mother could never speak about what happened.
Our Family have so many questions around the exact circumstances of Daddy’s death.
The official explanation for my daddy’s death was that he had been shot down by British soldiers defending themselves against a gunman.
Yet forensic swabs taken at the time showed that he hadn’t been carrying a gun.
This was just more propaganda, more lies and disinformation that caused great distress and anger.
That’s why I’ve spent my life trying to clear my daddy’s name.
As a Westminster law, this Legacy Act takes the legal right to truth that we have been campaigning for, for over 50 years from us.
Families who lost so much during the year of conflict now see the British government - the perpetrator in so many killings - pulling down the shutters on our campaigns for truth and justice.
Where else in the world would this be considered acceptable?
This Act is affront to the human rights of all victims and yet the silence from the British government is beyond deafening.
It's frankly insulting and demeaning.
That is why - yet again - we stand here at the High Court to vent our opposition to this Legacy Act.
The Courts must hear our voices. Together we have refused to be silenced.
Through this Legacy Act the British are seeking to cover up their murderous deeds and put state forces beyond the reach of the law.
That will never be acceptable.
The rights of all families to an inquest, to an investigation and to pursue a civil action must be upheld and protected.
There can be no British political interference in these basic legal processes.
My family have a right to a basic legal inquest.
As families, we will stand against this rogue state strip us of our basic legal rights.
The Irish government now also need to step up, speak up and act on behalf of victims.
They have had ample time to consider this legislation.
Both now need to give certainty to victims and commit the Irish government to taking an inter-state case to European without further delay. Not to do so would be to endorse these flawed bodies.
Our Families have waited too long. We now need to see immediate action. There can be no more delays.
Standing up against this legislation has taken its toll on many families. But we remain steadfast and determined.
Our message is clear. We are not giving up. We are not going away. We will be seen, and we will be heard.
That’s what our loved ones deserve.
That’s what my daddy deserves.
So today in finishing I want to thank the many Families, and their support groups, who have stood up against this British government, who have protested against this legislation and who have refused to be silenced."
Further Information Email Ciarán MacAirt firstname.lastname@example.org / 02895 818575
Notes for Editors