Newton Emerson: Both Britain and Sinn Féin want an amnesty for former soldiers and terrorists

Fears of a British-unionist plot on this matter misrepresent what is actually going on

Families of victims of the Bloody Sunday killings have expressed both disappointment and relief at the news that one former British soldier is to be charged following an announcement by the North’s Public Prosecution Service. Video: Reuters

It is all or nothing on dealing with the legacy of the Troubles. Either all sides must face the same prospect of prosecutions and convictions, or all sides must be given an amnesty or the closest thing legally possible to an amnesty – a statute of limitations is most often mentioned.

This the real divide on the subject and it cuts across traditional lines. The British government and Sinn Féin want an amnesty; other nationalists, unionists and the Irish Government do not.

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