FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Office of Johnny Mercer MP
Phone: +44 1752 876979
Johnny Mercer Helps End Witch-Hunt of Northern Ireland Veterans
After several years of work, Plymouth Moor View MP Johnny Mercer’s leadership has helped pass the Northern Ireland Troubles Bill through the House of Commons on 6th September 2023. While the courts have hounded NI veterans for events that took place up to 50 years ago, the Good Friday Agreement waivered convicted terrorists. The Bill, which will stop new cases and inquests being opened into crimes on both sides of the conflict, is an attempt to draw a line under events of the past. In short, it balances the scales of justice for NI veterans.
Having served in the 29 Commando Regiment at the Royal Citadel, Mercer is “deeply proud” of his predecessors who served in Northern Ireland, adding they should not be treated as “second-class veterans” and deserved “the protection of the Overseas Operations Bill like everyone else”.
Since resigning in protest to the Johnson government’s stalling on the Bill, Mercer has taken back up his post and fought tirelessly to correct this historical injustice. The Minister reflects that it has been a “long, painful process” but was a moment the Office for Veterans’ Affairs and our veterans “can be extremely proud of”.
The trial of 80-year-old Plymothian Veteran Dennis Hutchings who tragically died in October 2021 is an example of a poignant case which the Bill aims to resolve. A “dear friend” of Johnny Mercer, the Veterans Minister divulges that “he was determined to prove his innocence against the unrelenting efforts of those who wish to rewrite the history of the conflict in Northern Ireland against his generation of servicemen and women who bled and died to keep the peace”.
25 years on from the Troubles, these brave servicemen and women can now live free from fear of being publicly trialed for their service to our nation. Justice has finally been served for Dennis and his comrades. Mercer hopes that this will offer “some sort of peace to the families involved”. He is “more determined than ever” to deliver for veterans in Plymouth and across the length and breadth of the UK, demonstrated by his latest commitment to end veteran homelessness by Christmas.