Rabbitte: what about the Presidential pardons?

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.

  • Pete Baker

    Well.. not quite.. Bertie’s already on record as saying that the Presidential pardons would only be proceeded with after the NI [Offences] Bill went through parliament.

  • George

    That’s my understanding too Pete. Bertie said if the UK legislation failed to get through there would be no moves south of the border.

    Rabbitte really is losing it lately. First he bangs on about introducing work permits for immigrants, implying this would help the immigrants (what planet is he on) and now this.

    And he wants people to think he should run the country with Kenny.

  • George

    Eastern European immigrants. Freedom of movement is no longer a Labour issue apparently.

  • Our Glorious Leader

    What about all the victims of his ex-comrades of the workers party/official ira/group b!! Those who continue to exhort, committ robberies from their drinking dens, thats when their not trying tp push, $100 dollars bills or beating up defenseless kids whilst calling on everyone to support the Ruc, sorry, the Psni!!

  • Ben A

    Christ the light! As one of Pat’s successors as Pres of USI, I have to say this makes less sense than even the bollocks he was spouting when he was on the dodgy side of the lefty movement.

  • Ben Archibald

    Have you re-joined the Tories yet?

  • Plum Duff

    I was recently asked to join the Irish Labour Party where, at one time, I would have felt quite comfortable. Unfortunately, the present leader is regrettably even more to the right than Attila the Hen – or in her present incarnation, Tony Blair. I therefore said, thanks, but, no thanks. Pat Rabitte, whether he sees the writing on the wall or not, IMHO, has responded in the most negative manner possible to Sinn Fein’s threat to his immediate hinterland. In a fearful, knee-jerk reaction, what does he do? He goes for the Blue Shirt vote – immigrants, nationalists (well, from an ex-stick, what can you expect) – anything will do. What’s next – travellers, gays…. thin people?? What a pathetic excuse of a man for an Irish Labour Party leader.

    I don’t mean this as it might sound, but I appeal to all Irish Labour Party members – in the words of the immortal Elmer Fudd, vis-a vis Bugs Bunny – ‘Kill the Waaabbit, kill the Waaabbit…..’.

  • Ben A


    Yes. I was only ever ‘not a member’ for either political expediency (getting elected is still counted as politically expedient, even in USI, I think) or because I was living in a different country.

    Long time no hear, and anyway, what possible interest has a commie troll like yersel’ got in a story about El Stickio Magnifico? 😉

  • I was only ever ‘not a member’ for either political expediency

    Why? were you afraid USI would not elect a Thatcherite? 😉

    Remember that conversation we had in Clare last year about Thatcher and golf clubs?

    or because I was living in a different country.

    That isn’t what you said last year

    what possible interest has a commie troll like yersel’

    How am I a troll?

    I am not the one who sold my soul to the highest bidder 😉

    got in a story about El Stickio Magnifico? 😉

    I find the former stickius minimus’s attitude to most issues ammusing.

  • Ben A


    I thought you’d spot the irony. Nope, I left cause I had to. USI elected a guy to do a job. I joined up again within an hour of getting permanently back in the UK, after the end of the mission.

    The idea that I sold out is ridiculous. I bought in!

    And I don’t think yer a troll, mate. I’m just cruising in here to start redressing the balance between objectionable unionist trolls and real ‘one nation’ democrats.

  • I joined up again within an hour of getting permanently back in the UK

    I did hear that when I was over at NUS

    So you are planning on being a regular then?

    Interesting 😉

    I have heard a few stories that are perhaps best left off message boards from a few of your former QUB collegues 😉

  • Henry94


    As one of Pat’s successors as Pres of USI

    I’m glad to say I was involved in the overthrow of the Stickies in USI in the early 80’s led by, among others, Mark Durkin and Joe Duffy.

  • among others, Mark Durkin

    Was that in Durkan’s pre-stoop day’s?

  • Plum Duff

    So much for the old timers’ love-in. I suppose the topic’s finished now?

  • Ben A

    Having said all that…

    Pat does have a point. Can’t really have an EU state giving presidential pardons to people involved in a terrorist insurgency against a partner. What would an Uachtarán na Chóracha say about that in her oul’ class?

    (I’ve been away from the 26 Occupied Counties recently, so I’ve forgotten my Gaeilge)