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Unsolved Murders Haunt Northern Ireland’s Past, and Its Future

The UK government wants to draw a line under the “Troubles,” but its planned legislation is being met with opposition from some victims’ families.

The site of the Enniskillen bombing in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland.

The site of the Enniskillen bombing in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland.

Photographer: Paulo Nunes dos Santos/Bloomberg

Louie Johnston was seven years old when his father, a police officer in Northern Ireland, was shot dead while on patrol in the town of Lurgan. A quarter of a century later, Johnston says his hopes that the killer will one day stand trial could be about to fade further.

The UK government is planning legislation designed to help Northern Ireland draw a line under the so-called Troubles that blighted the region for three decades. Under the plan, which is being debated in the UK Parliament for the first time on Tuesday, the authorities will seek to address more than 1,000 of the unsolved murders from the era. Anyone who genuinely co-operates with investigations will get immunity from prosecution.