Thursday, 16 December 2021
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
365. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if the attention of British Government has been drawn to the outrage felt by many persons on this island in relation to its plans to provide amnesty in respect of atrocities carried out in Northern Ireland pre-1998; if the British Government has been advised by him of the enormous damage this would do to the peace process and Anglo-Irish relations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [62923/21]
It has been the clear and consistent position of the Government that the Stormont House Agreement provides a balanced and comprehensive framework to address the legacy of the Troubles. It was agreed by both Governments and the political parties after intensive negotiations, and it should be implemented – for the families and victims who have waited for too long.
We have taken every opportunity in our regular engagements with the British Government, including at the recent British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (BIIGC) on 2 December, to set out this position. We have cautioned the British Government strongly against any unilateral action on this most sensitive of issues.
As agreed at the BIIGC on 24 June, the Government joined the British Government and the political parties in Northern Ireland in a process of engagement on these issues, with discussions beginning in July. The intention has been to find an agreed way forward that will allow implementing legislation to be introduced in both the UK and Ireland.
As we have consistently stated, a statute of limitations as proposed by the UK Government in their command paper is not something the Government can support. There has been a clear message from victims groups throughout this process that this cannot be the way forward. It has also been strongly and publicly opposed by all the parties.
We have consistently said that we are ready to engage with concerns or issues to do with the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement but any such changes must be discussed and agreed by the parties and both Governments. It is vital that any approach is collective if it is to work, and crucially, that it meets both the needs of victims and our shared international human rights obligations.