Larkin defends Troubles proposals

Published Thursday, 30 January 2014
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Northern Ireland's Attorney General has defended his comments that there should be an end to Troubles-related prosecutions.

Larkin defends Troubles proposals
Attorney General John Larkin spoke to UTV on Thursday. (© UTV)

In November, the Executive's most senior legal advisor John Larkin QC said the court process was not the best way to deal with the past and that prosecutions for historical crimes should not be brought.

Mr Larkin also said that access to state records should be increased with added legal protection for those who report the findings.

The remarks caused outrage from victims' families who believed his proposals amounted to an amnesty.

Prime Minister David Cameron said blocking future prosecutions would be "dangerous" in terms of reconciling people with the past.

While Justice Minister David Ford was also against the move, saying a process must include "justice, truth and reconciliation".

The main political parties also reacted widely in opposition.

More than 3,000 people were killed during the Troubles, with many of their families still awaiting justice.

Speaking to UTV on Thursday, Mr Larkin said he "absolutely" did not regret his decision to speak on the matter.

"They were intended to spark debate and they have certainly done that," he said.

Mr Larkin reiterated that he had not called for an amnesty and added that the debate that followed had been "fruitful" and "constructive".

He added that anyone with "human sympathy" could see how difficult and painful the situation is for those victims still hoping for justice.

"One can't really put oneself adequately in the place of a victim but as I said at the time the very least our victims are entitled to is honesty," he continued.

"And is it likely that there will be a successful prosecution now if they didn't take place years ago and I think the answer to that is still no."

© UTV News
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3 Comments
Silly in Belfast wrote (204 days ago):
It would be nice if mr larkin remembered he is not an elected representive and not a local celebrity on whose soundbites we all eagerly await. This is about justice for relatives. Mr larkin is offensive in the extreme to those victims and their families.
John in Newtownabbey wrote (204 days ago):
I wonder if he has list anyone of his family in the conflict? And as to the likelihood of a conviction now for past murders, we gave seen several successes in the courts over the last couple of years. Old forensic evidence of finger and palm prints has secured at least two convictions of sectarian murderers carried out in the seventies etc. Larkin needs to bow out of this issue and stop trying to take credit for starting a debate that should never have been started in the first place. Man's a disgrace.
john in crumlin wrote (204 days ago):
i think a truth and justice amnesty is the only way forward. people aren't gettin any younger and this could be their only way of getting some closure before the perpetrators die off. it will be a hard pill to swallow but its for the future nd our children. lets not let this run on for another 40 years
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