Pat Rabitte points out that the abandonment of the OTR legislation leaves the Irish government out of step with its plans to confer Presidential pardons on the OTRs. From Pat Rabitte:
Following the withdrawal of the Northern Ireland (Offences) Bill dealing with On the Runs by British Secretary of State Peter Hain in the House of Commons today, the onus is now on the Irish Government to state if it is to proceed with its unprecedented plan to grant presidential pardons to OTRs in this jurisdiction.
In the face of outright opposition from nationalist and unionist parties in the North, from victims groups, and, belatedly from Sinn Fein – who, we
must remember, initially welcomed this legislation – Peter Hain had little option than to abandon the Bill.
Having struck a deal with Gerry Adams to allow an effective amnesty for those responsible for the approximately 1800 unsolved murders of the
Troubles for both paramilitaries and members of the security forces, the British Government has had to conduct a significant and embarrassing volte
face on the matter.
The onus is now on the Irish Government to abandon its own ad-hoc proposals to grant presidential pardons to on the runs. The Labour Party consistently
opposed this plan and tabled a joint motion with Fine Gael calling on the Government to drop the proposals and for truth and justice to be returned
to the entire process.
The British and Irish Governments must now engage with all political parties in the North as to the best way to deal with this issue. The rights
of victims and their families must be to the fore, rather than the selfish interests of Governments and particular parties who want to cover-up their
crimes of the past.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty