The existence of immunity from prosecution being dished out to OTR (On The Run) IRA terrorists has now been exposed to the cold light of day.
Literally cornered, former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from 2005 to 2007, Peter Hain, confessed that, originally, Sinn Fein had sought legal immunity from prosecution for their terrorists but, when it was pointed out that it would apply to British service personnel, Sinn Fein would not agree, Instead, we’ve ended up with a covert arrangement whereby Sinn Fein activists such as John Downey, alleged to be involved in the massacre in 1982 of eleven soldiers and seven horses in Hyde Park and Regent Park with exploding bombs, has been able to walk free without trial whilst British service personnel continue to remain liable to be brought to trial for their work in Northern Ireland. In particular, paratroops involved in the shooting of fourteen Catholic civil rights protestors in Londonderry in 1972 remain liable to prosecution as a consequence of the Report of the Saville Inquiry published as recently as 2013. So much for the often professed ‘equality under the law’!
This dodgy deal is reminiscent of and consistent with the revised extradition arrangements Tony Blair entered into with America in 2003 whereby British citizens can be extradited on grounds which the Americans simply will not have applied to them.
Hain has sought to justify the British Government’s position by claiming that the arrangement whereby immunity has been granted to suspected IRA terrorists “was necessary for the negotiations to succeed and for peace to be established”. Given that Sinn Fein made the first informal approaches to John Major’s government pre-1997 because Irish republican groups had been penetrated by British Secret Service personnel and were losing the terrorist war hands down, it is simply absurd that Sinn Fein has since been able to exact so many such concessions from the British Government. This is yet further proof (not that it is needed) that Parliament is largely unrepresentative of the vast majority of those who elect them.
Cameron’s administration is sullied by the revelation that, since the Coalition was formed in 2010, thirty-eight such letters of immunity have been issued.
If the British Government’s position is to be retrieved, it must immediately embark on a course which grants immunity to all British service personnel for actions taken in the course of duty in Northern Ireland. Loyalist paramilitaries should also be treated no less than are IRA terrorists.
Secondly, the police should arrest all known IRA terrorist suspects and test whether they have such letter of immunity. Then we will all know the extent of this dirty, dubious British deal.
Roll on the day when England is governed by the English!