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Statement by Minister Flanagan on the Hallett Report into the “On the Runs” issue

Minister Charles Flanagan, Northern Ireland Peace Process, Press Releases, Northern Ireland, 2014

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Charlie Flanagan, TD, made the following statement today on the Hallett Report into the “On the Runs” issue:

“I note this morning’s publication of the Report by Lady Justice Hallett on her independent review of the administrative scheme operated by the British authorities for dealing with “On the Runs” cases and have read the related statement to the House of Commons by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. While the content of the Report is primarily a matter for the British Government, I understand that Lady Justice Hallett has concluded that the scheme was not unlawful and did not constitute an amnesty. I will be studying the detail of the Report’s conclusions and recommendations.

"The Hallett Review arose out of a recent trial related to the Hyde Park bombing in which four people were killed on 20th July 1982. On the same day, another seven people died in the Regent’s Park bombing. It is important that we remember those who lost their lives and were injured in those dreadful bombings, as well as their grieving families.

"The Irish Government has always been very conscious of the need to deal sensitively with the legacy of the past. The issues that led to the establishment of the Hallett Review underline the importance of safeguarding the progress made by the Northern Ireland political parties and reaching agreement on comprehensive and effective arrangements for dealing with the past."

ENDS

Press Office

17 July 2014

 

Notes for editors

•          The 1998 Good Friday Agreement made provision for the early release of both loyalist and republican prisoners.  It applied to those who had already been convicted of offences committed before 1998 and were currently serving sentences.  Some of those who were still wanted by the authorities in relation to terrorist offences but had not been convicted were considered to be “on-the-runs.”

•          The two Governments undertook to advance schemes to deal with OTRs in both jurisdictions at Weston Park in July 2001 and in the Joint Declaration of April 2003.  The British Government subsequently set up an administrative scheme to deal with the cases of those not covered by the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. The Irish Government was not directly involved in the establishment of this scheme, nor was a similar scheme established in this jurisdiction.

•          On 27 February Prime Minister Cameron announced that he would appoint a judge to provide an independent review of the OTRs scheme. The review was chaired by Justice Hallett.

•          The terms of reference of the review were:

- to produce a full public account of the operation and extent of the administrative scheme for OTRs

- to determine whether any letters sent through the scheme contained errors

- to make recommendations as necessary on this or related matters that are drawn to the attention of the inquiry