Wednesday, 15 February 2017
Department of Defence
78. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will consider introducing legislation similar to the Defence Forces (Second World War Amnesty and Immunity) Act 2013 to pardon Free State troops who were executed or imprisoned by the State for switching allegiance to the IRA during the Civil War. [7301/17]
The Act referred to in the legislation was introduced so as to provide for the granting of an amnesty and, as appropriate, an immunity from prosecution, to those members of the Defence Forces who served with Forces, (including the Armed Forces of a country) fighting on the Allied side during the Second World War and were subsequently found guilty by a Military Tribunal of, or who were or who still are liable to be prosecuted for, desertion or being absent without leave, or who were dismissed from the Defence Forces. The circumstances giving rise to that legislation are very different to those which relate to what the Deputy now seeks.
As the Deputy will appreciate, commemoration and remembrance of the events leading up to the establishment of the State and of the immediate period thereafter will require detailed and empathetic consideration. The Government will continue to mark significant events throughout the Decade of Centenaries. This will be based on the inclusive, open and consultative approach that has worked so well for last year’s commemoration of the centenary of the 1916 Rising. At all times, the Government has been supported in its plans by the guidance and advice of the Expert Advisory Group on Commemorations, which was established by the Taoiseach in 2011 and which is chaired by Dr Maurice Manning. The role of the group is to advise the Government on historical matters relating to the Decade of Centenaries and to ensure that significant events are commemorated accurately, proportionately and appropriately.
At this time no proposals in relation to the issue raised by the Deputy or events related thereto have been brought forward.