Belfast Telegraph

End to Troubles-related prosecutions proposal was entirely my own, says Attorney General John Larkin

BY ALAN ERWIN

The Attorney General consulted no ministers before proposing an end to Troubles-related prosecutions, he has confirmed.

John Larkin QC stressed his suggestion of halting further investigations, inquests or inquiries into killings committed before the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 was completely independent.

The chief legal adviser to the Stormont Executive has provoked outrage among relatives of some of those murdered during the 30-year conflict by his comments.

Asked if he had briefed or consulted the Executive before making his views on Troubles-era cases known, he said: "No minister, no MLA is engaged in what I said. It's entirely my contribution, independent, to the public debate. I have put it out there and it's being discussed."

Taoiseach Enda Kenny yesterday said ending prosecutions in Troubles-related murders would breach human rights.

He added: "From my perspective down here as Taoiseach, clearly this is a matter of international human rights... and if the hand of justice points incontrovertibly following court cases to individuals then justice has to take its course."

Irish President Michael D Higgins said forgetting the past will not help people move on.

The President said on a visit to Belfast: "Whatever mechanisms are ultimately agreed upon for this task, the overall needs of a flourishing and shared society must be at their heart."

He added: "Achieving an ethics of the memory makes, and will make, a demand on all of us, on all sides of history."

Meanwhile, Niall Murphy, a Belfast lawyer specialising in human rights cases, said the proposals were incompatible with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights which protects the right to life.

As of September, 38 inquests were running involving 65 deaths, with only five having been completed.

Alleged cases of shooting to kill by members of the security forces are among matters being considered by coroners.

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