Written Answers. - Northern Ireland Issues.

John Deasy

Question:

33 Mr. Deasy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on whether a public inquiry is required to investigate the disquieting allegations of collusion by the security forces in Northern Ireland in the killing of civilians during the 1980s and 1990s. [15032/02]

Serious allegations have been made over many years concerning collusion between security forces and loyalist paramilitaries in a number of murders in Northern Ireland. These allegations have been raised repeatedly with the British Government through the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference established under the Anglo-Irish Agreement and more recently through the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference established under the Good Friday Agreement.

The recent Panorama programme "A Licence to Murder" has once again focused public attention on these disturbing allegations. In the case of Pat Finucane, the Government received a confidential report by British Irish Rights Watch in February 1999 which raised many of the allegations addressed by the programme. It was on this basis that the Government called for a public inquiry into the circumstances of his murder. In addition, the Taoiseach has expressed the Government's view that public inquiries should be established into the murders of Rosemary Nelson and Robert Hamill.

It was agreed at Weston Park to appoint a judge of international standing to undertake a thorough investigation of allegations of collusion in these cases and three others. Justice Peter Cory, formerly of the Supreme Court of Canada, has been appointed to conduct an investigation into these six cases. The two governments have agreed to abide by the findings and recommend ations of Justice Cory, including any recommendations for a public inquiry in any of these cases.
Question No. 34 answered with Question No. 32.