Before becoming DPP, McGrory was solicitor for IRA members seeking ‘letters of comfort’

Barra McGrory QC, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)
Barra McGrory QC, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)

Northern Ireland’s director of public prosecutions has said that he has taken no role in the process of writing letters to former IRA members which state they are not being sought by police because of his past work for IRA members on the run.

Tuesday’s judgement at the Old Bailey contains details of a police note from February 2007 which said: “He stated that Mr McGrory, solicitor, who acts on behalf of the OTR’s [on the runs], had requested information about the current legal status of his clients...”

Mr Allister wrote to Mr McGrory on Tuesday night to say: “I note from the judgement in R-v-John Anthony Downey that in 2007 you were acting for all the OTRs.

“Given the role of the DPP in the administrative scheme giving rise to ‘letters of comfort’, and the fact that this scheme continues, what can you advise as to the arrangements made when you became director?”

On his appointment, Mr McGrory — who had worked as a solicitor on behalf of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams and had other high profile clients — made clear that he would not involve himself in any prosecutorial decision relating to his past clients.

A PPS spokeswoman told the News Letter: “The Public Prosecution Service was very aware of Mr McGrory’s prior engagement in this issue while in private practice.

“However, I can confirm that he has had no involvement whatsoever in any of these cases since his appointment as Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland in November 2011.”