Sugden call overDublin-IRA links

The Justice Minister must abandon a 'neutral' position and actively fight for those who fell victim to alleged collusion by the Irish state during the Troubles.

Justice Minister Claire Sugden
Justice Minister Claire Sugden

Innocent Victims United (IVU) spokesman Kenny Donaldson told Minister Claire Sugden in a “robust” private meeting yesterday that she and the UK government can no longer stand by while Dublin aggressively presses the UK for full disclosure on the Troubles.

Mr Donaldson said: “We asserted the need for the Department of Justice and the Secretary of State/UK Government to adopt a policy of supporting and standing up for UK citizens in cases of alleged IRA collusion by the Republic of Ireland state and its security forces. The ‘neutral’ policy currently operating is not reciprocated by Dublin, as the case of the ‘Hooded Men’, Dublin-Monaghan, Ballymurphy, Loughinisland and Bloody Sunday demonstrate.”

IVU does not deny any victim the right to truth and justice but expects equality for its members, he said.

He told the minister that the Kingsmills inquest showed the Republic had been found “seriously wanting” in its commitment to offer “full disclosure” on the past.

His comments on Kingsmills were echoed yesterday by victims campaigner Willie Frazer to First Minister Arlene Foster when she visited his Markethill office.

Mr Donaldson also asked Ms Sugden for a review of sentencing in light of republicans Damien ‘Dee’ Fennell and Damien McLaughlin both being granted bail to go on holiday last month - despite facing terror charges.

He highlighted IRA man Seamus Kearney enjoying weekends out after being jailed in 2013 for the murder of RUC officer John Proctor in 1981.

A Department of Justice spokesperson said: “The Minister had a positive meeting with representatives from Innocent Victims United and the South East Fermanagh Foundation. She assured them that she will consider the issues they have raised and respond in due course.”