Ireland to bring legal challenge against UK government over Troubles Legacy Act News
Lasse1974, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Ireland to bring legal challenge against UK government over Troubles Legacy Act

The Irish Government announced Tuesday that they intend to legally challenge the UK’s Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Act 2023 on human rights grounds under the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Northern Ireland Legacy Act was introduced during Boris Johnson’s time as prime minister. Receiving royal assent and becoming law in September 2023, the Act created an Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery, which limits criminal investigations, legal proceedings, inquests and police complaints into events that happened during the Troubles, and extends the Good Friday Agreement’s prisoner release scheme.

The Act has received widespread criticism from NGOs, the UN and the convention’s Committee of Ministers, who oversee the implementation of European Court of Human Rights judgments. However, the British Government affirmed their stance on the act, most recently in a report responding to human rights judgments in November. While the committee expressed concern over the act, the UK Ministry of Justice insisted that they must be “realistic” and “do things differently” in order “to provide greater information, accountability and acknowledgement to victims and families.”

Irish Tánaiste Micheál Martin confirmed that the Irish Government will now proceed with taking legal action against the legislation. As reported by The Journal, during his announcement, Martin stated, “The British Government removed the political option, and has left us only this legal avenue.”