This bill aims to discriminate against former political prisoners imprisoned during the conflict. Political prisoners will be barred as Special Advisers to Government Ministers and serving Special Advisers will be sacked.
Former political prisoners already face serious discrimination in many areas that detrimentally affects their lives and the lives of their families. This is especially so in the area of employment where many barriers exist, both structural and political, excluding them employment in numerous sectors of the labour market.
This Bill will add to the number of legal ways in which former political prisoners can be excluded from employment and it will reinforce the discriminatory attitudes and practices with which former political prisoners have to contend.
This bill will operate as a breach of the international agreement between two sovereign states, the Irish and British governments, that gave effect to the Good Friday Agreement. It will also contravene the commitments given in regard to political ex-prisoners’ in the Good Friday Agreement and in the St Andrews Agreement. If it is passed in the form proposed its retrospective penalisation of current special advisors will be in contravention of domestic and international human rights provision.