Wednesday, 1 June 2005
Bertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
As the Deputy is aware, we have tried in a substantial way to help the legal representatives, families and Justice for the Forgotten. Another €30,000 is being processed in my Department to help them in respect of the group's engagement with the Oireachtas committee and Mr. Justice Barron's report. We have tried to help them all along for the reasons the Deputy correctly outlined.
The inquiry is a matter for the sole member of the commission. There is no question of the families not co-operating because they have been co-operating. That is a matter for him to take up with the sole member. The families are doing everything to co-operate. The question of interaction with the survivors and the victims' relatives is now for the sole member, Mr. McEntee SC, who is completely independent on this issue. Those matters will be dealt with and their legal team can talk to him. I readily admit that their initial reaction to the terms of reference was not 100% positive but the purpose of the commission is to investigate the facts and get to the truth in an efficient and timely manner. I hope, therefore, that they co-operate fully. I accept the Deputy's point that there should not be a long delay, and I will not delay. If it is clear to me when I have the meeting with Prime Minister Blair this month that we are going nowhere, I will take the action and move on immediately.