Lord Hain was a senior minister in a government which gave terrorists letters of comfort

A letter from Councillor Stephen Cooper:

Friday, 3rd December 2021, 6:50 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd December 2021, 8:02 pm
Letter to the editor

The claims made from former Secretary of State, Lord Hain, that he (and none of his predecessors as SoS) had any part in the individual decisions to issue On The Run (OTR) letters strikes me as disingenuous (December 3, see link below).

I can accept that Lord Hain was not directly involved in making decisions as to which OTR was to be provided with any such letter of comfort; however, the scheme was manufactured by the Blair administration, of which he was a senior member.

The Hallet review, like the scheme itself, was held in private and fell well short of the full public inquiry once demanded by the DUP as a condition of keeping Stormont alive.

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However, it did bring some information to light including a secret letter from Mr Blair to Gerry Adams detailing the scheme. It was also revealed that Lord Hain wanted the scheme to be run in secret.

A Parliamentary Committee inquiry found that Lord Hain’s scheme was a “one-sided, secretive scheme of letters” which damaged the integrity of the criminal justice system.

I believe that when in office Lord Hain was prepared to distort justice in Northern Ireland for the sake of the process — after all, Tony Blair said the precious process ‘would have probably collapsed were it not for the OTR scheme.’ *

I do not accept Lord Hain’s attempt to downplay his culpability in this shabby and shameful affair.

The flow of concessions to the republican movement to keep bombs out of London by successive British Governments is as shameful today as it was in the years leading up to and the aftermath of the Belfast Agreement.

Perhaps if Lord Hain is so exercised about morals, will he back the rescinding of these hundreds of OTR letters given to IRASF under his watch, and furthermore disclose the individuals enjoying the immoral protection they provide?

Stephen Cooper, TUV councillor, Comber

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