OTR legislation gone…

Inevitably, after Sinn Fein withdrew its support (after considerable external pressure) and no doubt topped by this morning’s poll, Peter Hain has withdrawn the bill that was to bring in OTR legislation. Thanks to El Matador for the heads up!

  • Keith M

    A bit of common sense. This whole idea should be scrapped. I believe that the same may happen in this country, ans the method being employed was constitutionally very dubious.

  • No probs Mick. I’m not able to update El Blogador
    until later so Slugger may as well put it out there 😉

  • Pete Baker

    So, previously Hain was pushing this Bill through despite the opposition of everyone else, except SF, and now he’s withdrawing it because SF have “reneged on what was agreed” [a rough transcript from the Commons today]

    Time to get rid of the incompetent Secretary of State who has little regard for democracy and less for the rule of law?

  • CS Parnell

    SDLP 1 Sinn Fein 0
    (Durkan, 4)

    Sent Off:
    Murphy (5)

    As for Hain being “undemocratic”, Unionists and their apologists need to recognise that so long as Northern Ireland is in the UK then Parliament is sovereign. If they want a written constitution that limits the power of the executive there is a state nearby…

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    It’s great that all the parties are getting together to applaud a genuine concession to Sinn Féin – may it be the first of many such occasions of cross party collaboration….

  • CS Parnell

    Olly, all the parties (in all of Ireland) applauded when your co-thinkers gave up their policy of slaughtering their fellow Irish men and women, so naturally they will applaud when proposals to allow the aforementioned killers get off scot free are abandoned.

  • kate

    well said C S!!

  • Seano

    “Mr Speaker, to exclude any members of the security forces who might have been involved in such offences from the provisions of the Bill would not only have been illogical, it would have been indefensible and we would not do it,” the Northern Ireland Secretary insisted.”

    Is it not compleltey obvious to everyone that, by the British govt attempting to include security forces in this bill that, it would of course be halted by republicans, as this is not what was agreed originally?

    The only way to remove this legislation, which eventually became the goal, was to deceitfully add in the security forces to it, knowing well that republicans would never accept this; therefore scrapping it.

    Goal achieved!

  • Crataegus

    Seano

    Meanwhile the Government does a U turn and Hain looks like a Jack Ass. I think not.

    I think their intention was to sweep their own problems under the carpet along with the OTRs.

  • An Bearnach

    Seano has it tón-about-face. The Provisionals did accept the bill with the provision on collusion killers. Conor Murphy flew to Westminster and told the BBC at St Stephen’s Gate to the Houses of Parliament that he welcomed the bill – 24 hours after Peter Hain had specified, in terms not so different from those above, that security force killers would be included. Martin McGuinness also welcomed the bill without reservations on state killers on Hearts and Minds the following day. It was weeks before they did their 180-degree turn in the face of outrage from victims on all sides.

  • Seano

    Crataegus

    “Meanwhile the Government does a U turn and Hain looks like a Jack Ass. I think not.”

    C’mon Crata, looking the Jack ass is nothing new to Hain.

    “I think their intention was to sweep their own problems under the carpet along with the OTRs.”

    Fair enough!

    An Bearnach

    “The Provisionals did accept the bill with the provision on collusion killers.”

    I suggest you check your sources on this. I know they play politics with many words, but do you honestly believe that Gerry & Martin would have agreed to allow murder and collusion by the security forces on this bill?

  • BogExile

    This is good news for the people left behind by some of the most incomprehensible cruelty imaginable.

    Those republicans who are indulging in purile fact twisting might like to stop for a moment and try to imagine themselves inside the ruins of families who had not only lost loved ones but who were about to lose any prospect of justice for murdering cowards who do not have the humanity to come forward and be judged for their crimes.

    This was an awful, shameful, squalid shambles of a proposal that sacrificed justice and closure on the altar of political expediency and appeasment. I’m very glad it’s dead in the water..

  • Does this mean the “lovely” Rita will not be showing her face in the ‘North for a wee while yet?

  • “do you honestly believe that Gerry & Martin would have agreed to allow murder and collusion by the security forces on this bill>”

    Yes.

    The Weston Park Agreement proved this. The feting of the legislation by Conor Murphy proved this. The fact that it took six weeks for Sinn Féin to change their mind over the legislation (but only when it became apparent that the public were livid at their ineptitude) proved this.

    And even if SF did not agree to state forces being included in the legislation, it still proves them to be poor poor negotiators- did they really think the British would let OTRs have an amnesty, whilst still letting SF have the oxygen of publicity surrounding their anti-collusion (how ironic) campaign?

    As Hain said, a one-sided deal is, and never was, negotiable.

  • Sorry,

    As Hain said, a one-sided deal is not, and never was, negotiable.

  • thetonyclifton

    The Weston Park Agreement proved this. The feting of the legislation by Conor Murphy proved this. The fact that it took six weeks for Sinn Féin to change their mind over the legislation (but only when it became apparent that the public were livid at their ineptitude) proved this.

    And even if SF did not agree to state forces being included in the legislation, it still proves them to be poor poor negotiators- did they really think the British would let OTRs have an amnesty, whilst still letting SF have the oxygen of publicity surrounding their anti-collusion (how ironic) campaign?

    As Hain said, a one-sided deal is, and never was, negotiable.

    Posted by El Matador @ ElBlogador.com on Jan 11, 2006 @ 03:33 PM

    exactly right

  • Crataegus

    Bogexile

    GOOD POST

    Seano

    “looking the Jack ass is nothing new to Hain”

    HOW TRUE!!!! But setting out with that intent?

  • A Bearnach

    No problem Seano, look at the timeline.

    On Tuesday 8th November during a visit to the loyalist Kilcooley housing estate in Bangor, Peter Hain said: “Any member of the security forces who might find themselves charged of crimes pre-1998, should not suffer any discrimination compared with those involved in paramilitary activity, loyalist or republican, who benefit from the scheme and come through out on licence.”

    On Wednesday 9th, Hain introduced the bill in the Commons.

    On Thursday 10th An Phoblacht wrote:”Legislation dealing with the issue of ‘On The Runs’ (OTRs) has been published by the British Government and has been broadly welcomed by Sinn Féin.” It quoted Conor Murphy as having said the day before from Westminster: “This is an outstanding issue, an anomaly from the Good Friday Agreement,” he told An Phoblacht. “These people would have been freed as part of the early release scheme, so it makes no sense for them to still be sought by the authorities. The British Government has had this very publicly on its agenda for some time now. We believe that in many of these cases, there isn’t even sufficient evidence for convictions.
    In any conflict resolution process there are from time to time issues like this which quite clearly need to be tackled and addressed in a sensible fashion if we are to build confidence in the future” No reservations there, or until weeks later, about state killers getting off.
    Also on the 10th, Martin McGuinness was rooting for the bill on BBCs’ Hearts and Minds: “The people who will gain most advantage from this are those nationalists and republicans who are on the run for over 30 years.”
    Hain’s inclusion of state killers could not have been a surprise to any competent negotiator. When the Provos did their infamous OTR side deal with the Brits at Hillsborough in 2003, Paragraph 4 stated clearly: “Legislation would set out who and what offences qualified for the scheme. A
    qualifying offence would be any scheduled or equivalent offence committed before 10
    April 1998.” Any scheduled offence, Seano, not just OTRs. It was never just about OTRs and plenty of people warned Sinn Fein about that precise point.

  • Seano,

    El Blogador published the full facts last month on the issue- check them out here:

    http://elblogador.blogspot.com/2005/12/stop-sinn-fin-british-collusion-facts.html

  • Serial Killer

    Pete baker is right….at the top of the thread.

    I have not bothered to read the story or thread, but I want to comment on this story.

    I was not (as Willie fraser seems to think) due to the pressure put on Government that stopped the Northern Ireland Offences Bill.

    It was not the DUP having 9 MPs that stopped it, or even the Ulster Unionists teaming up withthe Tories to amend/destroy the Bill.

    Hain made it clear on two occasions.

    He said,

    1. Sinn Fein had instructed republicans to stay clear of the legislation if enacted as it was unacceptable.

    2. That one party had renaged on the agreement and that SF need to look/think very carefully about what they are doing.

    It was coz SF didn’t want to play ball anymore that Hain stopped this Bill. Probably the lowest and most reprehensible reason for stopping this example of the lowest and most reprehensible legislation.

    He went on to talk about what a fan he is of pre-legislative scrutiny.

    Ha Ha Ha

    The only pre-legislative scrutiny that we can expect from Hain or anyother monkey that cares to replace him from the Labour party is another sickening side deal done with Sinn Fein……..only this time the next Bill will be more sickening and you can bet that there will be even more bells on for Sinn Fein this time with another round of unconnect concessions.

  • This is good news for the island of Ireland. The idea that a British government would enact legislation opposed by the majority of parties on the island was frankly unacceptable.

  • This is Good News for the United Kingdom and all who sail in her. 😉

    Great News!

  • Seano

    An Bearnach

    In response to your “Seano has it tón-about-face. The Provisionals did accept the bill with the provision on collusion killers” and “Martin McGuinness also welcomed the bill without reservations on state killers on Hearts and Minds the following day.”

    I found this quote from Hain on another thread.

    “In an interview with the Irish Times, published on November 29, Peter Hain said: “We made an agreement with the Irish government and with Sinn Fein over a period of years, and published in 2003, that we would do this and we are honouring that agreement… If you are asking me was the inclusion of members of the security forces within the bill part of the original agreement, it wasn’t. Sinn Fein had not asked for that and any attempt to suggest otherwise is simply misleading.”

  • DerryTerry

    Seano, on Wednesday 7th December Mark Durkan told the Belfast Telegraph, “that he could reluctantly accept the OTRs deal but not security forces being added into the package.?”

    He even went on, “Given that the deal was specifically for OTRs – i see no problem with holding the Government to the original promises of this agreement. I may not like it, but if the Government say those are the grounds on which they are honour bound, he could accept it. The security forces were not in the original deal.”

  • Seano

    DerryTerry

    “The security forces were not in the original deal.”

    Yes, this is the point I was trying to make to An Bearnach and Crataegus.

  • dodrade

    Note how openly Hain admits it was Sinn Fein’s opposition to the bill which made him withdraw it. I suspect the government will eventually bring amnesties for OTR’s and security forces in separate bills.

  • martin ingram

    Derry Terry and Seano,

    They have been in the deal since 2003.

    Martin