Kelly 'on the run' again as he skips hearing
Published 09/06/2014 | 02:30
Maze escapee Gerry Kelly has been accused of going 'on the run' again after Sinn Fein said he would not give evidence to a committee investigating amnesties for republican fugitives.
Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said that, although the party had nothing to hide, officials would decline invitations to attend a select committee hearing in London.
The committee is investigating revelations made earlier this year that three British governments since 2001 provided 228 IRA on-the-runs (OTRs) with letters stating they were no longer wanted for past crimes.
Mr McGuinness said he, party leader Gerry Adams and North Belfast MLA Mr Kelly met the Hallett review team last week.
"We see no point therefore in Gerry Kelly attending the Westminster Select Committee into the issue," he said.
Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) leader Jim Allister said Mr Kelly – a key figure in the the IRA's 1983 Maze Prison escape – had "chickened out".
"Not for the first time Gerry Kelly is on the run," he said.
"Happy to act as secret postman for the IRA in carrying their demands for OTR amnesty letters, he, who is so quick to demand inquiries that suit republican pet projects, is cowering in the shadows, unwilling to help uncover the truth over the OTR scandal. He and Sinn Fein have too much to hide."
An inquiry by Lady Justice Heather Hallett was ordered by British prime minister David Cameron after the collapse of a case against John Downey, who had been accused of the IRA's Hyde Park bomb in London in 1982, which killed four soldiers.
The trial was halted because he had mistakenly received one of those letters when the Metropolitan Police were looking for him. Mr Downey denied involvement in the attack.