Friday 15 December 2017

John-Paul McCarthy: Amnesties can create greater problems than they ever solve

From our own Civil War to South Africa, acts of clemency have caused collateral damage, writes John-Paul McCarthy

John-Paul McCarthy

ONE of the most startling insights into the complexities of the political amnesty can be found buried in part four of the Offences Against the State Act of 1939.

Here, de Valera infamously set out the stringent penalties that would be imposed on anyone convicted under the act. IRA volunteers and their enablers would be immediately dismissed from public service jobs for at least seven years, and they would lose their pension entitlements permanently.

These provisions stand in the starkest contrast to de Valera's thinking a mere seven years previously.

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