Taoiseach refuses to demand resignation of Karen Bradley over Troubles shootings claims

Taoiseach refuses to demand resignation of Karen Bradley over Troubles shootings claims

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and other politicians have refused to demand Britain's secretary of state for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley resignation over her "dignified" Troubles shootings claims, despite criticising the remarks.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan and Fianna Fáil justice spokesman, Jim O'Callaghan stopped short of calling for Ms Bradley to be removed from office after her deeply divisive comments in the House of Commons.

In a damaging claim earlier this week, Ms Bradley told MPs in Westminster that while 90% of killings during the Troubles were by paramilitaries and therefore crimes, the remaining 10% by British soldiers were legal.

Ms Bradley has since apologised for the remark - which is heavily linked to upcoming legal action against British soldiers involved in the Bloody Sunday atrocity - claiming it is now "not what I believe".

Asked if Ms Bradley should resign as Britain's secretary of state for Northern Ireland in light of the controversy, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the remarks were "insensitive and wrong". However, he stopped short of calling for her to be sacked:

I think her apology was genuine and it was heartfelt. She has accepted that the comments that she made were insensitive and wrong. What's important now is that it is followed up on.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan mirrored the view, telling RTÉ Radio that Ms Bradley has apologised - a position repeated by Fianna Fáil's justice spokesman, Jim O'Callaghan who said any decision on Ms Bradley's future is up to British prime minister Theresa May.

However, despite the conciliatory tone, families of people killed by the British army during the Troubles have continued to call for Ms Bradley to quit.

Frances Meehan, whose brother Michael Donnelly was hit with a plastic bullet in 1981, said Karen Bradley's position is untenable: "I wanted to meet her because I wanted to look her in the eye to tell her how I felt about her comments in the House of Commons. We know she has apologised but her position is completely and utterly untenable and she needs to resign."

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