Thursday, 11 July 2019
Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Bill 2019: Committee Stage (Resumed) and Remaining Stages
I want to make it clear that I am not saying we should not be providing information to the other jurisdiction. I am very much supportive of the provision of information. It has to be acknowledged that efforts in this jurisdiction to get information about atrocities that happened here are not succeeding. Over 45 years have passed since the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. Some of the other incidents we are trying to get information on happened slightly more recently. Are we going to allow the British authorities to continue to be uncooperative?
Perhaps the Minister can come up with a solution because the British authorities are continuing to stonewall us every time we raise this matter and urge them to consider our perspective. I am aware that the Minister, the Tánaiste and the Taoiseach have been pursuing this matter. Many of us have attended meeting after meeting to try to get truth and justice for the victims. Can the Minister outline how he intends to resolve this impasse if information is not forthcoming? What can we do if the British authorities continue to refuse to provide the information for which people have been waiting? That is the kernel of what I am at. The families of those who died in the Kingsmill massacre deserve an investigation and the truth. They have also been waiting. The other groups, families and individuals who have been waiting also deserve the truth.
I mentioned Dr. Thomas Leahy's research last night. It would be useful to have a look at what the Irish Government can do, based on his research. For example, there are outstanding recommendations from the Barron reports that have never been implemented. Will there be a commitment on the Government's part to implement those recommendations? A number of files in the Department of Justice and Equality have not been made available to the National Archives of Ireland. Will the Minister consider the appointment of an independent committee of academics to advise on this matter? We know about the dreadful way in which the Ludlow family has been treated. Nothing is happening in all of these cases because the British authorities will not co-operate. The Government is going to do all the co-operating. It just does not add up for me.
I am not going to engage in tit-for-tat. However, I must point out that for more than 45 years our experience has been that information has not been forthcoming from the other side. Deputy Brendan Smith mentioned the victims' commissioner. Last night, I mentioned the possibility of establishing a victims' forum. The Government could do many other things, including the establishment of a day of remembrance. I ask the Minister to respond to the question I asked last night about the Garda liaison officer. What are the terms of reference? What sort of exchange of information will there be? It is a cliche to say that justice delayed is justice denied, but in this instance it is true. It is heartbreaking to met people, whose family members have died, who are still waiting. I do not doubt that the Minister is pursuing and raising these matters and using all the words that need to be used, but he is just not getting anywhere with the British authorities.