IT’S not just the Colombian government that wants IRA members extradited – now the Germans are getting in on the act too. PA reported that Scotland Yard was involved in the arrest of alleged Osnabruck bomber Leonard ‘Bap’ Hardy in Spain. Helpfully, Sinn Fein have informed us that the suspect had been living openly in Ireland for years (tut tut, Bertie). So no more overseas birdwatching trips for the C3 then – but perhaps the Hardy case presents an unforeseen problem…If ‘On the Run’ IRA suspects are allowed home as part of the political deal to restore devolution, then that is a deal between the British Government, the Provos and the Irish Government. So what happens if other governments that have legal treaties with Ireland come knocking on the Dail doors, seeking the extradition of IRA suspects for ‘international terrorism’ or whatever?
To be honest, I can’t think of another example outside Germany at the moment. But unionists might argue that the UK’s amnesty for IRA fugitves and the German extradition case illustrate how far Britain and Ireland have been prepared to move to tie up republican loose ends (which I suppose is a bit of a compliment to SF’s negotiating skills).
How would Londoners have reacted if the Italisn government had refused to extradite a man wanted in connection with the failed bomb attacks of 21 July?
And isn’t it strangely coincidental that Scotland Yard were involved in all this, at this particular time? You’d almost get the impression that someone was pissed off over the Three Amigos making their own way home…!