Belfast Telegraph

Political leaders 'should discuss Troubles amnesty'

Northern Ireland's retiring police chief has urged politicians to have a mature debate on an amnesty for Troubles crimes.

Sir George Hamilton stressed he was not advocating an amnesty and did not personally believe in one.

But he highlighted other peace process concessions he was uncomfortable with, such as the early release of paramilitary prisoners, as examples of controversial steps politicians agreed to as a "price worth paying" for moving society forward.

Sir George said any political debate on "drawing a line" on past killings must be considered in the context of the relatively low chances of securing historic convictions.

Sir George was challenged on the issue by DUP MLA Mervyn Storey at his final appearance before the Policing Board. Mr Storey referred to recent remarks by the chief constable when he said he could "live with" an amnesty. The politician claimed Sir George had caused hurt to victims.

The senior officer told Mr Storey: "I am not advocating for an amnesty and you have accused me of that and I want to put the record straight on that. I think that political leadership should be courageous enough to publicly have that discourse and have that debate."

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