Kenny and Cameron rally against end to Troubles prosecution
TAOISEACH Enda Kenny and British Prime Minister David Cameron have joined forces in opposing a call to end prosecutions in Troubles-related murders.
It was made by the North's Attorney General John Larkin, who said he also favoured ruling out further inquests and other state investigations into the crimes committed during over 30 years of conflict in the North. He has suggested that the chances of successful prosecutions into crimes committed in the past are diminishing by the year.
In the Dail, Mr Kenny said that families always wanted closure and had a yearning to find out what had happened.
"I think it would be difficult for families on either side of the dark time in Northern Ireland if you were to follow that advice and put in place what the Attorney General recommended," he said.
He also raised questions about calling a halt to prosecutions if there was the discovery of "incontrovertible DNA evidence of the involvement of persons in killing on either side".
Mr Kenny's stance echoed that of British Prime Minister David Cameron, who believes that the PSNI should be able to prosecute historic crimes in the North if they have the evidence. A spokesman for Mr Cameron said there had been no change in his view.
"His view is a long-standing one that, where relevant independent authorities have evidence, they should be able to take that forward in the way that they best judge," he said.
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said that there was already an agreed method of dealing with prosecutions of crimes committed before the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
He pointed out that people who were convicted were given a reduced sentence of two years.
"I have not yet heard a convincing argument for changing that," he said.
Mr Larkin has been able to express his views freely due to his independent role as the North's Attorney General.
Politicians in the North do not have the same freedom to be able to do this due to the risk of suffering electoral damage.
In the Dail, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams – who has recently denied allegations that he ordered the execution of Belfast mother-of-10 Jean McConville – called for an intelligent and sensitive debate on how to address the past. He said that any process put in place had to be victim-centred.
"We have proposed there will be an international, independent, truth-recovery process," he said.
Labour Louth TD Ged Nash said that Mr Larkin's views had put him at odds with the British and Irish governments and the parties in the North.
"The Attorney General's comments will be met with dismay by the families of victims of the Troubles who deserve truth, acknowledgement and justice regarding the fate of their loved ones, whether those responsible for the deaths were paramilitaries or members of the security forces," he said.