No past progress due to OTR letters

Published Monday, 03 March 2014
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The First Minister Peter Robinson has told Stormont's MLAs that the immediate effect of the OTR letters furore is that there can be no progress on the past during the ongoing Haass process.

No past progress due to OTR letters
First Minister Peter Robinson addressing the Assembly on Monday. (© UTV)

The DUP leader signalled that this would be the case until at least after the judge-led inquiry announced last week.

Speaking in the Assembly on Monday, he said: "I have indicated that I believe that the issues that are ranged by the Haass talks, are issues that have to be dealt with.

"I do not believe that it is possible to reach any conclusions on those issues relating to the past until we have the inquiry outcome.

"Though that does nothing to stop us looking at the issues relating to parades or the commission to deal with flags and identity.

"But the whole purpose for us of the matters relating to the past was to ensure that there was access to justice to those who had not received justice for the lost of their victim, for their family members.

"That indicates that we need to be sure that everyone is susceptible to investigation, inquiry and prosecution."

Later, the Justice Minister David Ford was asked an urgent oral question from the DUP on the legality of the NI Office continuing the On The Runs scheme after policing powers were devolved in 2010.

At least 38 letters have been issued by the current government, a fact unknown by the Justice Minister until last week.

Prior to that, 187 letters were issued to republicans.

The Alliance Party leader revealed he is seeking legal advice on the matter.

He said: "It is also clear that in this Assembly and in my department, we are as yet unaware of what the details are.

"I suspect that we will have to see what we do get emerging. But, it is absolutely clear that there are major questions about the way the scheme was established, about the way it was carried on, about the way it has been misrepresented and the way it has lead to the current confusion arising out of the Downey trial."

© UTV News
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6 Comments
realistic in planet earth wrote (182 days ago):
ahhhh, another 'astute' move from Mr Huffy himself! keep stalling Peter, just remember that people go by results, not repetitive hissy fits..... roll on the elections, if the dupers maintain, or increase, their standing NI is just in for more years of stalling, childish 'politics' and bigotry..... such a waste of a great wee place.....:(
Deeko in Belfast UK wrote (182 days ago):
A United Ireland will never happen
Dorothy in Kansas wrote (183 days ago):
How convenient! Funny how that just fits right in with the Unionists preconceived plans. If I were a cynic, I might say this whole OTR row was designed to do just that, to scupper Haass. Of course I'm not a cynic and would never suggest anything of the sort.
AK in Ireland wrote (183 days ago):
The sooner a united ireland is achieved the better it will be for all the people of this island. FACT
Shetland isles in Shetland isles wrote (183 days ago):
Someone should ask Mr Cameron in parliment ! If the West Midlands Police mistakenly sent this kind off letter to someone suspected of plotting and helping the 7/7 bombers would they be immune prom prosecution and free to walk the streets of Britian ? I think not
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