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Former Secretary of State Julian Smith references Derry Girls finale during Troubles legacy debate

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The cast of Derry Girls. Credit: Jack Barnes

The cast of Derry Girls. Credit: Jack Barnes

The cast of Derry Girls. Credit: Jack Barnes

A powerful intervention in the debate over the Government’s Troubles legacy proposals by former Secretary of State Julian Smith has been described as “mind blowing” by the creator of TV comedy Derry Girls after he referenced the show.

During the second reading debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Mr Smith referenced the “brilliant Derry Girls finale” last week, which paid tribute to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

Speaking about the legislation laid down, Mr Smith raised concerns over the Government's plans for a new independent commission for information recovery.

He also described being “deeply uncomfortable” by the idea of “voting for a Bill that will formalise immunity for those who have committed murder and other crimes”.

During his speech, the Conservative Skipton and Ripon MP also touched on the 2010 apology by David Cameron over Bloody Sunday, when British soldiers shot dead 13 civil rights protestors in the Bogside area of Londonderry.

When speaking about this, Mr Smith chose to reference the comedy show which aired its final episode last Wednesday.

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“The lead character Erin’s monologue on coming of age in Northern Ireland, was set to clips of Bloody Sunday and more importantly David Cameron’s apology. A clear modern reflection of the importance of that acknowledgement of the past,” he said.

He added: "I urge the Government to look at again at the independence and investigatory powers of this body to ensure that it can guarantee victims a full and thorough investigation of their case that is legally compliant.

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Former Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith. Photo credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Former Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith. Photo credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Former Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith. Photo credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

"The shutting down of civil cases and of inquests, and the way it is done through this Bill, is also a source of much anger and worry.

"Civil actions have provided an effective mechanism for victims to obtain discovery and reparations.

"Today many victims feel that they have been hit by a double whammy with this Bill. Their route to justice cut off, and at the same time their route to the truth restricted."

Writing on Twitter, Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee replied: “This is mind blowing.”

The final episode of the third series is set in 1998, coinciding with the Good Friday Agreement referendum.

In a recent interview with the Belfast Telegraph, McGee said she wanted to remind people how far Northern Ireland had come since ‘98 and how fragile and precious peace was.


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