Written answers

Thursday, 21 March 2024

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Northern Ireland

Photo of Brendan SmithBrendan Smith (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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128. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has raised with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland the interim report of Operation Kenova with particular reference to the actions of the British agent in the IRA which caused so many tragedies and loss of life; if he has expressed concern about the failure to pursue prosecutions for deplorable actions detailed in this report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13540/24]

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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I have not yet had the opportunity to raise the publication of the Operation Kenova Interim Report with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, but will do so shortly in the context of our ongoing exchanges.

As I stated on 8 March, the date on which the interim report was published, the ‘one thing that emerges immediately from the interim report is the centrality of victims and their families. This underlines the need for a comprehensive, collective and victim-centred approach to legacy issues.’ In this context I look forward to the publication of the Operation Kenova final report.

I also welcomed the strong emphasis in the interim report on the European Convention on Human Rights, which is an essential safeguard under the Good Friday Agreement.

The interim report reiterates that the Provisional IRA was responsible for the most deaths in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, over 1700.

The interim report finds that the republican leadership has failed to acknowledge and apologise for the Provisional IRA’s “murderous activities” and the intimidation of families.

The interim report is similarly unsparing in describing the actions of its so-called “Internal Security Unit” as representing “the worst of what one human being will do to another”.

The interim report makes clear the challenging circumstances facing those who worked to keep people safe throughout the Troubles. However, it also states that serious crimes “were not prevented when they could and should have been.” It states Special Branch and the FRU withheld information in order to protect their agents, with the result very serious offences, including murder were not prevented or investigated.

This was a profound failure and an appalling dereliction of duty.

What the Kenova report makes clear is that “legacy cases can be investigated successfully, and the truth can be uncovered.” It is deeply disappointing that no prosecutions will be pursued following the publication of the Interim report.


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