The Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) webinar “Northern Ireland Legacy Justice Webinar - Where do we go from here?” will be live-streamed today, Saturday, September 16 at 11 am EST time / 4 pm Irish time.

The webinar will discuss the next steps in the political and legal battle against the British amnesty bill.

Participants in the webinar include US Representative Mike Lawler, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Seana Quinn Cappagh, East Tyrone, civil rights lawyer Kevin Winters, and Consulate General of Ireland – New York Helena Nolan.

You can register for the Zoom webinar here, or tune in via YouTube here:

Ahead of its webinar, the AOH said: "Despite overwhelming opposition by victims’ relatives, human rights campaigners, the Irish government, and six county political parties, the British government rammed through its Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill, designed to cut off legal channels for justice. 

“Relatives of victims have vowed they are ‘never giving up’ their fight for truth, and appealing for vital American support.

“The British amnesty bill discards the Stormont House Agreement on legacy mechanisms made with the Irish government, and ends criminal cases, historical investigations, inquests, civil suits or Ombudsman investigations which could give the truth in hundreds cases, including British crown force or collusion killings.

"Instead, the British are setting up a so-called Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery (ICRIR) which victims’ relatives fear will bury the truth along with the victims.

"The British have already announced the appointment of retired Chief Judge Declan Morgan to head the Commission, which is neither independent (since appointments are made directly by the British) nor likely to achieve truth and reconciliation."

"Northern Ireland Legacy Justice Webinar - Where do we go from here?" webinar participants

Congressman Mike Lawler, a member of the AOH, has just returned from Ireland, where he and other members of a Congressional delegation met high-ranking British officials and expressed strong opposition to the legacy bill directly to them.

The delegation was also briefed on the issue by Irish Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin and heard the emotional objections made by bereaved family members.

A member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Lawler is becoming an important voice on Irish Congressional initiatives, and recently co-signed a strongly worded bipartisan Congressional letter to British Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris, expressing deep disappointment with the amnesty bill.

A defining moment in Irish history was the successful negotiation by Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair of the Good Friday Agreement between the British and Irish Governments and the political parties in Northern Ireland in April 1998.

Ahern will share his thoughts about the British Government going against the wishes of the people in the north of Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, the UK, and around the world to implement the self-serving legacy justice bill.

Seana Quinn is the sister of Dwayne O’Donnell, one of four men murdered at Boyle’s Bar in Cappagh, East Tyrone on March 3, 1991. Only last month, Attorney General Brenda King ordered new inquests into his murder and four other mid-Ulster killings, citing intelligence that British state agents/bodies played a role in the murders, ballistic evidence linking the weapons used, and wider evidence of collusion.

These inquests are expected to implicate the British Army’s Ulster Defense Regiment 8th Battalion, with direct links to other mid-Ulster murders, and a pattern of crown collusion around the six counties. The same weapons were used in the murder of American citizen and former Bronx resident Liam Ryan. The bereaved families now face a race against time and British amnesty shut-down deadlines.

Civil rights lawyer Kevin Winters, one of the leading solicitors involved in many legacy cases will explain the legal implications of the amnesty law and how badly the law will impact families who have waited decades for truth. He will outline the strategy for legal challenges that are expected to begin a long legal battle to the European Court of Human Rights.

New York Consul General Helena Nolan will represent the Irish government. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Micheál Martin have said that the Irish government is considering indicting Britain in the European Court of Human Rights. If Ireland, as a party to the European Convention on Human Rights, brought an action on behalf of Irish citizens, it would save individual families from years of going through the British High Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court before getting to the European Court.