Belfast Telegraph

Jeffrey Donaldson demands answers over Republic's 'amnesty' for IRA killers

By Brian Hutton

The Irish Government is facing widespread demands to respond to claims of an effective amnesty for IRA killers operating in the Republic for more than a decade.

Politicians, victims' campaigners and the family of the only prison officer assassinated south of the border during the Troubles have all urged an immediate response over the revelations by a former Justice Minister.

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said he was appalled by the development, which he warned will have an impact on ongoing talks about dealing with the past.

The Lagan Valley MP said suggestions by Dublin's ex-Justice Minister Michael McDowell that a de facto amnesty has operated south of the border for years raises serious questions about investigations into several killings.

"The innocent victims of terrorism in the Irish Republic are entitled to justice and it is a matter of concern that the Irish Government appears to have taken a unilateral decision not to pursue justice in such cases," he said.

Mr McDowell last week spoke of "a consensus" in the Republic dating back at least 14 years ago that the Garda would no longer be prosecuting historical cases.

He said: "What happened in the Republic was that there was just a decision by the guards to use their resources to prevent current crime and current offences and not to go back over the IRA's campaign of violence."

Mr Donaldson said Taoiseach Enda Kenny must immediately clarify the Irish Government's current policy on prosecuting past paramilitary crimes.

"It will have a major bearing on our ongoing discussions about how we deal with the legacy of the past," he said.

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