Innocent Victims United hit out at Simon Coveney’s ‘rank hypocrisy’ over amnesty plans

A campaign group for terrorist victims has described Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney’s objections to the government’s Troubles legacy legislation as “rank hypocrisy” given the Republic’s own de facto amnesty for republicans.

Innocent Victims United (IVU) said it was “absolutely shameful” for Mr Coveney to complain about British plans for an effective amnesty for all Troubles-related crimes when a former Irish justice minister revealed the Irish state operated their own unofficial amnesties for wanted IRA suspects.

Kenny Donaldson, IVU spokesman, said: “To be clear, we have grievous concerns with the comments and likely outworking of the bill but we find it absolutely shameful for Minister Coveney to cry foul when the government to which he is a senior minister has done little to nothing in dealing with their own legacy.

“The 1999 correspondence from Bertie Ahern to Tony Blair and remarks from former Irish justice minister and tanaiste Michael McDowell where he confirmed that a moratorium has been in place post the Belfast Agreement for pre-1998 crimes within the Republic of Ireland illustrates the rank hypocrisy within that administration.”

Irish Foreign Affairs minister Simon Coveney

Mr Donaldson continued: “There are cases where individuals within their security forces collaborated with Irish republican terrorists. A deeper role is also required into how the state initially armed and financed the inception of the Provisional IRA. There should in addition be an examination into inept security and extradition policies which operated and which thwarted the battle against terrorism.”

Referring to the PIRA’s border campaign, Mr Donaldson said: “The Irish state have failed over 500 families whose loved ones were murdered and which had a border element.”

The Irish foreign minister said he had “serious concerns” about the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill which would upset victims’ families over legislation with many believing it was “more about protecting perpetrators instead of pursuing justice and getting to the truth”.

The News Letter contacted the Department of Foreign Affairs for comment but has not yet received any response.