Victims adamant: No amnesty for OTRs

Kenny Donaldson
Kenny Donaldson

A delegation of terrorist victims’ representatives were at Stormont yesterday to give evidence to the Westminster committee examining the on the runs (OTRs) letters controversy.

Addressing the team of MPs, Kenny Donaldson of umbrella group Innocent Victims United (IVU) said the one thing they all agreed on was that – 16 years on from the Good Friday Agreement – there should be no form of amnesty for pre-1998 crimes.

“The people who did sign up to that agreement have not got what they signed up for.

“People have said that Northern Ireland is at peace, but are we going to have a sustainable peace without justice?” he said.

When asked for his views on the value of the letters sent to around 200 republican terrorist suspects, he said their worth to the recipient could only be assessed the first time one of the letters was used as a defence to a prosecution case.

He said: “People are making promises they are hoping they don’t have to check out on. Until such times as a case is before the courts that can’t be tested.”

Mr Donaldson said there was a real concern among victims that the letters revelation was not the end of the concessions to terrorists process – and that it was crucial Tony Blair, former secretary of state Peter Hain and Sinn Fein gave evidence.

Phyllis Crothers, who was part of the IVU delegation, was asked by Naomi Long how important it was for the Government to “come clean on what has been happening”.

She replied: “It is important to me as a victim. I just want to have a better understanding of this system. I don’t think we can have justice without truth.”