Continuing the run-up to the publciation of the legislation hinted at by Peter Hain yesterday, there are more reports in the media today, BBC here, Press Association here and RTÉ’s report here – the numbers involved differ according to each report. However the Irish Times picks up on one point ignored elsewhere.. the Irish governments plans. According to the report by Mark Hennessy & Dan Keenan, when, or if, the legislation is enacted by the British government, no new legislation will be required in the Republic of Ireland but that “IRA members sought for crimes committed in the Republic before the Belfast Agreement will be granted an “executive pardon” by the Government, under proposals to be published today”The Irish Times report restrictions to IRA members seems strange given the attempt by Peter Hain to apply the British proposals to all cases.. and the report notes that those still sought for the murder of Jerry McCabe will be excluded from the scheme. But there are other cases that come to mind.. including the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.
From the Irish Times report –
IRA members sought for crimes committed in the Republic before the Belfast Agreement will be granted an “executive pardon” by the Government, under proposals to be published today.
The measures will accompany a move this afternoon by the British government to grant an amnesty to up to 60 so-called “on the runs”, who fled Northern Ireland after they were charged with terrorist offences.
The concession in the Republic will not apply to the men convicted of killing Detective Garda Jerry McCabe, or to two other men involved in the 1996 Adare raid who were never brought to trial.
Legislation is not necessary in the Republic, Government sources said last night, even though the British government is obliged to put legislation to the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
Though the Government could operate more quickly, the Irish pardons will not be granted until the British legislation becomes law – which could be quite difficult for British Prime Minister Tony Blair to achieve.
The cases in the Republic will be reviewed by a specially-appointed tribunal, similar to the one which ruled on early releases for IRA prisoners held in Portlaoise Prison after the Belfast Agreement.