Tuesday 28 March 2017

Amnesty call not just brave but logical in post-Agreement North

Liz O'Donnell

Liz O'Donnell

When I heard Northern Ireland's attorney general John Larkin's call for an end to all prosecutions, inquests and public enquiries relating to the Troubles, I instantly thought of what the fictional Sir Humphrey would say in response. "Brave" might be the ambiguous response of the wily civil servant.

Bravery in politics is rare; the tyranny of popularity and electoral survival means few politicians venture into unknown and, in this case, unspeakable territory.

Larkin was not just thinking aloud; he is after all the attorney general and most senior lawyer in Northern Ireland. While unusual for an AG to launch major policy initiatives in the absence of political direction, his entry to the democratic debate on such a "live" topic is not all that surprising.

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