One week from today, the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland, known as the PPS, will meet the families of victims of Bloody Sunday to brief them on the decisions it has made arising from its investigation into the events of Bloody Sunday. As the Tánaiste can imagine, this is an incredibly sensitive time for the families. Last weekend the PPS asked people to avoid speculation ahead of that meeting out of sensitivity for the concerns and interests of the families. That justifiable call has been ignored at the highest levels of the British Government and the British Tory Party. Boris Johnson added to it last weekend in his article in the The Daily Telegraph and with his callously inappropriate tweets. His statements trampled all over the feelings of the families. He ignored the fact that 13 people had been murdered on that day and that a 14th person had died from injuries he had suffered on that day. He also ignored the apology given by the former Prime Minister David Cameron specifically to the people of Derry and the families for the hurt and the wrongs done on that day.
Although it is easy to dismiss Boris Johnson because he is paid to be bizarre, as a former Foreign Secretary, he should not be allowed to get away with these remarks. We cannot dismiss the words of Karen Bradley because she is the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Her comments yesterday in the UK Parliament added to the enormous distress of the families. She completely ignored the views and requests of the PPS, as expressed last weekend. Her comments were completely inappropriate and, even worse, ignored due process and the impending decision of the PPS. She walked all over the rights, feelings and sensitivities of the families. She also ignored their grief and frustration. In the light of the history of the events of Bloody Sunday, the Oireachtas cannot let her remarks go unchecked.
Like every Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Tánaiste has had to deal with legacy issues on the nationalist and unionist sides. The grief and frustration of all families are still very raw, while we are trying to tackle those legacies. As a Parliament and as a political class, we have tried to approach these issues with sensitivity. Yesterday's remarks were absolutely callous, completely out of order and totally inappropriate. I gather that the Tánaiste met Karen Bradley last night in London and that they were due to discuss this matter. How did he express people's anger at the remarks she made yesterday? Does she realise how offensive and careless they were? Does the Tánaiste accept that the comments she made yesterday show complete disrespect for the families? Ms Bradley said her comments had been misrepresented, but I do not accept that explanation. Does the Tánaiste accept it? Does he think Ms Bradley should withdraw her remarks immediately and issue a full apology to the families of those whom she offended?