“I know we have been set up by the British Government..”

The co-chairmen of the Consultative Group on the Past were interviewed on Will Crawley’s Sunday Sequence this morning, sound file available here [RealPlayer file] for now, and they have insisted they will publish their report privately if necessary, although I wasn’t aware of any threat not to publish it. Meanwhile those anonymous sources close to the group have been at it again, this time adding another contentious issue into an already contentious debate. From yesterday’s Irish Times [subs req]

The consultative group, it is understood, is trying to determine whether it can receive reciprocal commitments from the IRA and representatives of the British security forces that they would co-operate in helping to establish the truth about the Troubles, which would assist the bereaved, and the maimed and wounded victims of the Troubles.

It is also seeking to establish whether the IRA, in its dealing with the group, would be prepared to make a “solemn declaration or covenant” that it would never again use violence in pursuance of political ends.

One source said that such a commitment from the IRA could be pivotal in deciding whether Sinn Féin and the DUP would be able to reach agreement on the devolution of policing and justice powers to the Northern Executive.

The DUP insists that “IRA structures” such as the army council must be dismantled before these powers could be devolved.

Interestingly, Will Crawley raised the question of the Consultative Group being part of a deliberate strategy to tie together all those various elements. [RealPlayer file, approx 10mins in] Both men seemed to acknowledge that it might indeed be the case, but they emphasised that their focus is beyond any such strategy.