Dublin must clarify McDowell comments regarding IRA amnesty - Empey

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Dublin must clarify McDowell comments regarding IRA amnesty - Empey

Ulster Unionist Peer Lord Empey has called on the British Government to use today’s London meeting of the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference to seek clarification from the Republic’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney regarding remarks made by former Justice Minister Michael McDowell about Dublin operating a unilateral amnesty for the IRA.  

Lord Empey said;

“In an Opinion column in the Irish Times on 20 October 2021 by Michael McDowell said “In this state, a de facto moratorium on investigation and prosecution of IRA members (other than those described as dissidents) came into operation. This was demanded by Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, the leaders of Sinn Féin at the time. And it was conceded. Every Troubles-related murder, bombing and maiming is, on paper, a serious offence in this state by reason of the Criminal Law Jurisdiction Act of 1976.

“But the Irish government of which I was a member took the decision that further investigation and prosecution by An Garda Síochána of such historic offences was no longer warranted or justified by reason of the greater interest in ending the Provisional campaign and all other political violence in Northern Ireland.

“And so, as far as this state was concerned, a line was drawn across the page of historic Provisional IRA criminality in Northern Ireland.”

“Coming from a former Irish Justice Minister this is extremely concerning, especially in light of the Government’s current legacy proposals with regard to a Statute of Limitations and what would effectively be a general amnesty, which has quite rightly attracted a great deal of attention and criticism, not least from the Ulster Unionist Party.

“As a result I tabled a written question in the House of Lords, and the question today is just how can the Dublin Government credibly oppose the UK Government’s proposals for a Statute of Limitations, if the Dublin Government has itself been operating an amnesty for IRA activities since 1998?”

“Today is the perfect opportunity for Simon Coveney to address this matter.”