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Fobbed off by a farrago of nonsense over OTRs

In a Freedom of Information request to the Northern Ireland Office in London, their lengthy response in refusing my request was nothing short of a farrago of convoluted nonsense.

If this wasn't enough to justify a refusal, the NIO went on to refer to the Hallett Report on "on-the-runs" (OTRs), quoting no fewer than 17 paragraphs.

To finish me off (in a manner of speaking), I was then directed to a Government link for "information published in a court judgment discussing the cases of some of those who received the Royal Prerogative of Mercy (RPM)". The detail of my FoI request was for the disclosure of named individuals that the NIO confirms they hold who were to receive the RPM between 1999-2001.

My motivation for such a request was three short sentences contained in a letter of June 2000 written by the-then Attorney General, Lord Williams QC, to Peter Mandelson MP: "You, as Secretary of State, will then have to consider whether or not to exercise the Royal Prerogative in order to achieve an early release. Again, any such action may be susceptible to judicial review - together with any requirement for disclosure - by any party that can show sufficient interest, such as victims. I understand that a number of the 17 were convicted of murder." Fourteen years on, victims still wait to be informed who these Provisional IRA terrorists are who benefited from the compassion of the RPM. It is only a simple "administrative" process to provide the names, but in the words of the NIO, I am told "disclosure would be unfair". Really!


Bangor, Co Down

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