Wednesday, 23 May 2018
Topical Issue Debate
Location of Victims' Remains
On the last point, the Minister, Deputy Flanagan, has agreed to look at this issue and is doing so. I am not sure if it is as straightforward as the Deputy has outlined in terms of simply asking people for their permission to waive confidentiality. The Minister is taking legal advice on it. When an investigation happens on the basis of guarantees around confidentiality, it has a standing that makes dealing with this issue difficult. I have explained that to the McAnespie family and I think they understand where we are coming from. We want to try to be helpful but we do not want to try to build pressure on people who gave evidence on the basis of confidentiality, even all these years later. I will wait to hear what the Minister, Deputy Flanagan, thinks may or may not be possible and we have undertaken to communicate with the family on this.
It is important to note that I cannot compel the State Pathologist in Northern Ireland to provide information one way or the other but I can certainly raise concerns with the Secretary of State. I understand why the Deputy is asking the questions that he has asked. We are currently in a process in Northern Ireland where we are trying to move ahead with a comprehensive, structured response to dealing with legacy issues. There are many families in Northern Ireland from both communities that are trying to deal with very painful memories of murders and atrocities there and I hope that the McAnespie family can, in time, also establish the full truth about what happened to their son.