Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Hallett Review into OTRs: Terrorist amnesties are a 'Unionist myth', says Sinn Fein

Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly
Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly

Sinn Fein said the report by Lady Justice Hallett into "on the runs" (OTRs) confirmed that the Government scheme was lawful.

Gerry Kelly described claims that amnesties were given to terrorists as a "unionist myth" and insisted he was not celebrating the collapse of the Hyde Park bombing trial.

The senior republican said it was time to address issues left outstanding from the peace process.

"Lady Hallett said that this scheme was lawful, it was done through the process of the British Attorney General and Public Prosecution Service.

"Far from it being secret, she also notes that Sinn Fein, on a continuous basis, had pushed for a public manifestation of dealing with OTRs and it was raised on a continual basis."

He said there could be no question of rescinding the letters.

The former IRA prison escapee, who did not receive a letter, said: "There was a commitment given. The John Downey cases, the veracity or the strength of the letter, albeit that they said it was a mistake, was tested in court."

He said it was never intended to constitute an amnesty.

"The myth of amnesty is a unionist myth, it has never been uttered by anybody from the republican or nationalist background.

"We never asked for an amnesty."

Stormont justice minister David Ford said he wanted to ensure the justice system was fit for purpose in 2014 following publication of the report.

"It certainly makes clear that the OTR scheme was flawed. What I am concerned about, as minister for justice, is to see that we provide confidence in the system by dealing with some of the outstanding issues highlighted by Lady Justice Hallett which need to be resolved."

Further reading:

Revealed: The secret 'arrests' of IRA fugitve on the runs 

Former prime minister Tony Blair 'could be called before inquiry over IRA on the run letters'

On the run letters? Everyone knew... bar unionists, apparently 

OTR letters final nail in the coffin of victims, Ann Travers tells MPs

Hyde Park bomb suspect John Downey faces new Scotland Yard probe over IRA attacks  

David Trimble 'hurt' that Government kept On The Run letters a secret from Stormont

Almost 300 murders linked to 95 recipients of OTR letters 

Hugh Orde: NIO did not press me to free republican suspects  

PM David Cameron: I'll not criticise rationale of royal pardons granted to paramilitaries 

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz