Ireland needs to do more on the legacy of terrorism — much, much more

News Letter editorial of Saturday July 17 2021:

Saturday, 17th July 2021, 8:56 am
Updated Saturday, 17th July 2021, 9:05 am
News Letter editorial

Yesterday, the UK again allowed the irrepressible Irish foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney to co chair discussions at Stormont on legacy.

This is the man who the former secretary of state Julian Smith allowed to jointly author a deal to restore devolution that rewarded Sinn Fein’s three-year collapse of power-sharing, with both an Irish language act and the tearing up of the three strands.

Worst of all, Mr Smith allowed the New Deal New Approach agreement to legislate for legacy within 100 days.

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Mr Coveney, who never stops telling off the UK, was at it the day before Friday’s Stormont legacy meeting. He penned a piece in the Guardian entitled: ‘British plans for a Troubles amnesty would breach international obligations’.

Mr Coveney said London’s proposals were not “compatible with the obligations of the European convention on human rights” and “would undoubtedly be tested in the courts”.

He is certainly right on the latter point: it will be tested in the courts, and it will be interesting to see how the UK responds if those court challenges are successful.

As Doug Beattie MLA says, though, the Irish government need to do more than they are doing now on legacy.

You bet they do. And that does not just mean co-operation in a small number of cases such as Kingsmill.

It means a thorough examination of the way that Ireland allowed its territory to be a safe haven for the IRA, and all the people, particularly along the border, who were killed as a result.

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