I move amendment No. 1:
In page 4, line 36, to delete “Act of 2005.” and substitute the following:
"Act of 2005, or
(d) be likely not be met with reciprocal assistance regarding information for investigative purposes for an inquest or investigation into a troubles related crime committed in this State.".
I think the Minister for Justice and Equality knows where I am coming from on this particular amendment. It is because of my engagement with victims' and survivors' groups. I will talk briefly about the Dublin and Monaghan bombings and their survivors who the Minister has met, having twice attended the commemoration on Talbot Street. He knows the issues they have faced over many years going back to 1974. Listening to the survivors and families, their pain remains obvious even after all this time. On Friday night, they are putting on a production at Liberty Hall entitled "Blood Red Lines". It is a real and poignant way for them to tell of their continuing pain at the fact that they do not have information without which they do not have justice. They are still waiting. If anyone had any doubt about the continuing effect on victims and survivors of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, that is a graphic presentation of it. I ask the Minister to refer to the role of the Garda liaison officer who has been appointed. I think he is the third officer appointed at this stage. It would be useful to have some information on what exactly his terms of reference are and what the nature of his role is. I hope the Minister refers to that in reply to me.
There have been 121 conflict related deaths in the State. People are still waiting for information and I have to judge the Bill in that context. That is what informs amendment No. 1. While we cannot legislate for another jurisdiction, the information cannot flow in one direction. There is a need for reciprocity and a reciprocal arrangement with Northern Ireland and the British authorities. Last week, we had another meeting with four victims who travelled from the North. There were two Protestants and two Catholics and all of them are fighting for truth and justice. I quote from a letter sent by one of them:
It is an insult to the memories of our murdered family members that we have had to travel and seek help and support from politicians from another jurisdiction. There is no real desire among the Northern politicians because every debate and every initiative about victims ends up in finger-pointing, blame, religion and politics. Cross-community is the only way forward. We should all work together in relation to victims without religious or political agendas.
That is another group of survivors. They have not been waiting quite as long as the victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings but they are also waiting. Their frustration, disillusion and disappointment are palpable. How can we give all the information one way unless we know there is going to be co-operation and information coming in the other direction. I ask the Minister to clarify his own amendment in that regard. Does he foresee that there will be co-operation and a two and three-way exchange of information?
I turn to collusion. We all know collusion took place. Some of the groups can give chapter and verse on where it went on. There must be a fearlessness in facing the truth of this collusion. The Minister might clarify, given the political vacuum in the North, how the legislation will bring about change. I mentioned Dr. Thomas Leahy earlier and his work on legacy issues. I referred to the five themes he came up with, including full engagement with the Stormont House Agreement, transparency and sustained communication with victims and survivors, services for victims and survivors, engagement and co-operation between Irish and British authorities and a remembrance day for all survivors and victims. The purpose of my amendment is to ensure there is finally truth, justice, information and an acknowledgement of what happened. That will include collusion but we have to be fearless in facing that.