‘Timing very strange’ Varadkar’s legal challenge at No10 blasted ‘so many other things going on in Northern Ireland'

‘Timing very strange’ Varadkar’s legal challenge at No10 blasted ‘so many other things going on in Northern Ireland'
GB News
Georgia Pearce

By Georgia Pearce

Published: 21/12/2023

- 10:07

Updated: 21/12/2023

- 10:14

Leo Varadkar is challenging the UK's Legacy and Reconciliation Bill over an alleged 'breach of human rights'

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has been criticised for his "bizarre" timing of a fresh legal challenge against the UK.

Varadkar is set to launch legal action against the UK over their Legacy and Reconciliation Bill, for an alleged "breach" of human rights.

The new law, which received royal assent in September, gives some immunity from prosecution for offences committed during the Northern Ireland Troubles.

The legislation has been widely criticised by the Irish government and Troubles victims’ organisations.

Leo Varadkar

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is launching legal action against the UK's legislation on the Troubles


Speaking of the legal challenge on Wednesday, Varadkar declared it is with "a sense of regret" that he is making the move against the UK.

He added: "The attorney general’s advice on this is very strong, his advice is that the UK Legacy Act is in breach of the UN Convention on Human Rights. It’s also the view of the UN high commissioner and also the Council of Europe."

Varadkar admitted he would prefer "not to be in this position", but stated his government "made a commitment to survivors in Northern Ireland and to the families of victims that we would stand by them, respect their wishes and also stand by the Good Friday Agreement, which specifically references the European Convention on Human Rights".

Reacting to the legal challenge, John Laverty of the Belfast Telegraph told GB News that the timing of events was "very strange".

Laverty explained: "It's not unexpected, but the timing of it is very strange. Firstly, the last couple of weeks the Irish government and the British government have been trying to get the DUP back into Stormont, and there's been substantial talks going on for the last for the last week or so and they didn't make any progress there, and then suddenly this comes out.

"I mean it's it's not a surprise that there's been challenges to this bill. Not a single party in Northern Ireland actually supports it. They they regard it as an amnesty for soldiers who committed atrocities early in the Troubles."

Laverty continued: "Other people have got justice or they've got some sort of closure in the likes of the Bloody Sunday inquiry and things like that.

"It even says when it came out in September that they've drawn a line under this. Which makes Northern Ireland, of course, the only region of the UK where there is a statute of limitations on murder. And that's why the Irish government are doing this."

John Laverty

John Laverty says the timing of Leo Varadkar's legal challenge is 'bizarre'

GB News

Host Eamonn Holmes weighed in on Varadkar's move, and questioned if the Irish leader was "playing politics".

Eamonn asked Laverty: This is a blind-sider, this one. A lot of people think this may be politics that Varadkar's playing here in a way to pull one over.

"Because it won't only be just British soldiers who will be under the cosh with this one. Sinn Fein will be as well, surely?"

Laverty replied: "Yes, of course they will be. And Leo Varadkar is no friend of Sinn Fein, shall we say. Obviously Leo Varadkar's government is trying to keep Sinn Fein out of government in in Dublin. So we can see some sort of motivation there with Leo Varadkar.

"But it does throw a spanner in the works of Anglo-Irish relations at a time when they're trying to get a deal together to get the DUP back. They're trying to sort out the Irish Sea border and it needs two to tango in that one.

"The reasoning for it coming in is not a surprise, but the the timing of it is bizarre."

You may like