Wednesday 13 December 2017

Coalition TDs call for Dail debate on IRA victims

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

COALITION TDs have called for a Dail debate on the Disappeared who were secretly murdered and buried by the IRA, as pressure increases on Gerry Adams.

It comes after the broadcast of 'The Disappeared' documentary, which featured a recording of the late IRA commander Brendan Hughes accusing Mr Adams of ordering the execution of Belfast mother-of-10 Jean McConville. Mr Adams has insisted these are lies.

In the Dail, Fine Gael TD Patrick O'Donovan called for a Dail debate on the Disappeared, saying that it was of major national importance.

"It was heart-wrenching to hear the stories of the relatives of the Disappeared recounting how their lives were torn apart by the death of their loved ones. Seven families are still waiting on closure and justice. They deserve all of the political support they can get," he said.

Labour Louth TD Ged Nash led a group of party backbenchers to Belfast yesterday to meet the families still waiting to find the bodies of their loved ones.


Fellow Labour TD Kevin Humphreys accused Sinn Fein of announcing that it had possession of Anglo tapes this week as a "smokescreen" to distract from the issue of the Disappeared.

However he also pointed out that the party had acknowledged it had the tapes for three weeks.

"It reminds me of a military tactic where when an army is in retreat, it puts up a smokescreen. That is very much what we have seen this week," he said.

Mr Humphreys said that Sinn Fein timed their announcement on the tapes as they knew "what was coming down the line in documentaries on RTE and other stations". He also supported the call for a Dail debate on the Disappeared.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said that the issue would be considered by the party whips, who are in charge of allocating time for Dail debates.

Sinn Fein has said the party did not reveal it was in possession of the Anglo tapes until it was legally safe to do so.

It said that it had got this legal confirmation last Tuesday night, which allowed Sinn Fein finance spokesman Pearse Doherty to announce this in the Dail on Wednesday.

The party also said it has hand delivered the tapes to garda headquarters and to the Central Bank.

Irish Independent

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