Fianna Fáil Foreign Affairs and Cross Border Development Spokesperson Brendan Smith TD has expressed grave concern following today’s intervention on the issue of historical crimes by Northern Ireland Attorney General John Larkin.

Deputy Smith commented, “The question of how to deal appropriately with the past is one of the most contentious issues facing policymakers in Northern Ireland. It is also one of the central tasks facing Meghan O’Sullivan and Richard Haass as they prepare their report. The fact that an Attorney General would publicly express such a controversial view on such a sensitive issue at this time raises serious questions about his role.

“For our part, Fianna Fáil do not believe that an amnesty for murders or other serious crimes committed before the Good Friday Agreement is an appropriate response to the challenge of dealing with the past. Truth and justice for the victims of violence, no matter who the perpetrator was, must be the starting point for any policy. We acknowledge that this will be very difficult and perhaps impossible in many instances, but this difficulty is no justification for a general amnesty.

“Mr Larkin also pointed to the need for legislation in this jurisdiction to give effect to his proposals. Fianna Fáil would vigorously oppose any such legislation and would expect the Government parties to do the same.

“The least that victims and the vast majority of people in the North, who had no part to play in violence should expect, is that certain basic standards of decency should prevail and that where possible, the victims of paramilitary and state violence should be entitled to the truth.”