UK minister sorry for downplaying Northern Ireland killings

March 7, 2019
Britain's Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley arrives for a cabinet meeting in Downing Street, London, Tuesday March 5, 2019. European Union and British top-level officials will resume talks on Tuesday in an attempt to break a deadlock in the Brexit negotiations less than a month before the United Kingdom is scheduled to leave the bloc. (Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP)

LONDON (AP) — The top British government minister responsible for Northern Ireland has apologized for causing “offense and hurt” when suggesting that killings by soldiers and police during decades of violence known as the Troubles were not crimes.

Karen Bradley told lawmakers Wednesday that deaths by security forces were “people acting under orders and under instruction and fulfilling their duties in a dignified and appropriate way.”

The words angered victims’ families. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar called them insensitive and wrong.

Bradley said Thursday that she was “profoundly sorry for the offense and hurt that my words have caused.” She said the government shared the desire of victims’ families to see “justice properly delivered.”

She said evidence of wrongdoing “should be pursued without fear or favor whoever the perpetrators might be.”

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