Hallett fails to name IRA comfort letter recipients

Peter Robinson
Peter Robinson

The judge asked by the Government to investigate the ‘letters of comfort’ sent to IRA on the runs has refused to name those who were given the assurances.

Lady Justice Hallett’s report, which was published yesterday, found that the scheme was not illegal and that it had not been kept a secret.

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers said that the names of those given letters would not be published because to do so “could potentially make it much more difficult to mount a successful prosecution”.

First Minister Peter Robinson, who had vowed to resign if a public inquiry was not held into the situation, hailed the report as a “goldmine of information”. He highlighted the “heavy criticism” of the NIO and the report’s conclusion that the letters do not amount to an amnesty.

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt said the report showed there had been a “grubby clandestine act of appeasement” to Sinn Fein.

But the TUV rounded on Mr Robinson, highlighting that he had demanded an inquiry which would name recipients of the letters and reveal their alleged crimes.