Former Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain has argued that all crimes related to the troubles that have not yet been solved should be left like that.
As the Irish President prepares to begin a full state visit to the UK this week, the former Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain has courted controversy once again by arguing that all crimes related to the troubles that have not yet been solved should be left like that.
Speaking to the Times (£) ahead of the state of Michael Higgins state visit tomorrow, Hain has said:
“I think there should be an end to all conflict-related prosecutions. That should apply to cases pre-dating the Good Friday agreement in 1998. This is not desirable in a normal situation. You would never dream of doing this in England, Scotland and Wales – but the Troubles were never normal.”
“You can keep going back all the time and you can keep looking over your shoulder or turning around all the time, but what that does is take you away from addressing the issues of now and the issues of the future.”
In February the issue of addressing those responsible for atrocities in the past came in for detailed scrutiny following the decision by a Judge not to prosecute John Downey, charged with the 1982 Hyde Park bombing after Downey produced documents showing that the government had given him guarantees that he would not be convicted.
In March Hain argued also that those British soldiers responsible for Bloody Sunday should also not face prosecution.
Calling for parity in the way soldiers and republican terrorists are treated Hain continued by telling the Times:
“A soldier potentially liable for prosecution who’s being investigated for Bloody Sunday has got to be treated in the same way by whatever process emerges as a former loyalist or republican responsible for a terrorist atrocity.”
In November last year, Northern Ireland’s attorney general John Larkin outlined his support for an end to prosecutions relating to the Troubles.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.