“safeguards for those individuals proposed by the group are patently inadequate”

In the Irish Times letters page today, Peter Smith, QC, responds to Denis Bradley’s previous response to his criticism of the proposals by the Consultative Group on the Past. From the Irish Times

I have the highest regard for Mr Bradley and his equally distinguished colleagues, but I do not believe that his prediction will be borne out by events if the recommendations in question are implemented.

On pages 147 and 148 of the report the purpose and powers of the “Thematic Examination Unit” are set out. It is expressly stated that its role would be to examine “linked or thematic cases” which are defined as “cases [that] have raised particular concern or are linked by the circumstances of death, or by the possible identity of the culprits, or touch on themes, such as areas of paramilitary activity or alleged collusion”. It is inconceivable that the drawing of conclusions in such cases could do other than involve the determination of the culpability of individuals.

Indeed, the group recognises this by referring on page 148 to the need for participants to have access to independent legal advice and the right to legal representation. My point was, and remains, that the safeguards for those individuals proposed by the group are patently inadequate.

Then there’s the question of whether all the groups involved will actually participate..