Wednesday, 1 June 2005
Joe Costello (Dublin Central, Labour)
The Taoiseach has indicated that it will be at the discretion of the commission to pay third party costs subsequently. We are talking about relatives and survivors who have been victims of this tragedy. Will they have to employ their own legal representation to participate in this investigation and then await the outcome of the decision on costs? This matter has given rise to great concern in other quarters but in a case like this, which is so clear-cut, costs should be paid at the same time as they are being legally represented rather than leaving it open to difficulties arising later regarding costs for a third party who must be central to the inquiry?
In that respect, some difficulties arose with the Justice for the Forgotten group regarding the terms of reference. Will the Taoiseach indicate if those difficulties have been addressed and whether meetings have taken place between the legal representatives of Justice for the Forgotten and the chairman of the commission, Mr. McEntee?
In terms of what we will do in the future, the Taoiseach indicated that he was in favour of fully implementing the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights, which led us to the next step of the European Court of Human Rights. He is fairly pessimistic about that because his past experience has been negative. Our experience has been negative also. That is the reason we made that particular proposal. Eighteen months will have passed by the time we come back to this issue in the autumn.