Reports that Dublin intends to provide minimal disclosure on the past compared to the UK are “sadly predictable” and “consistent with the terms of the Stormont House Agreement” an academic has warned.
Dr Cillian McGrattan, lecturer in politics at Ulster University, was reacting to UUP MLA Doug Beattie, who in this paper said the UK had briefed MLAs at recent Stormont talks that it will provide “every scrap” of uncensored information to the proposed Historical Investigations Unit (HIU). In contrast, he said, Dublin briefed that it will only respond to specific HIU requests, and that Garda will independently censor any files it might hand over.
Dr McGrattan said Dublin’s recent engagement on the past has “evidenced minimal cooperation with the desires of victims and survivors to the truth and with the more general concerns for transparency and accountability”.
He added: “It is going to matter to a whole lot of people, particularly victims of republicans who’ll see their story somehow sidelined and rendered less ‘real’ because of the focus on the [UK] state; and ex-servicemen and women who’ll see their own experiences and identities overturned from being one of struggling against unjustified terror to one of being the main perpetrators of violence.
“I think the DUP will be at a personal level unhappy with this, but I don’t think they’ve put safeguards in place – either they underestimate the consequences or they are willing to countenance it for the sake of governance.”
He thinks the DUP may underestimate the implications but may also plan to use the fall-out to “mobilise resentment”.
Mr Beattie warned that the Irish security files hold the key to decades of the IRA’s border murder campaign “and the complicit role the Irish government and its agencies had in it”.
The DUP did not respond to Dr McGrattan’s comments. The Irish government did not respond to either Mr Beattie or Dr McGrattan.