Oireachtas Debates on Collusion
A Commission of Inquiry under Mr. Justice Henry Barron was established by the Irish Government in 2001. Four reports were published and a Sub-Committee of the cross-party Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights conducted an extensive examination of the reports, including in public session.
The Sub-Committee's conclusions were startlingly direct - particularly in light of its cross-party membership - and included the below recommendation:
"The spectre of collusion was raised in our first report and we now have enough information to be fully satisfied, not only that it occurred, but that it was widespread.
The seriousness of this warrants direction from the Oireachtas and we therefore recommend that there should be a full debate in both the Dáil and the Seanad on the issue of collusion since it is necessary for there to be greater political impetus to highlight the fact that it occurred, and the facts of its scale and to identify measures to bring closure to the victims."
On the 10th October 2007, the Taoiseach, in response to questions on the subject in the Dáil, stated:
"As the House will be aware, the Oireachtas joint committee report, which dealt with these issues made some stark findings and painted a very disturbing picture. As I said when I published the MacEntee report, I fully support the call for a debate in the Dáil and the Seanad and I am happy to do that whenever the House agrees to do it."
Unfortunately, the Taoiseach reneged on his promise to have a full debate in the Dáil on the issue of collusion and instead allowed for the scheduling of Statements to the House on the 30th and 31st January 2008. This meant that members of the Dáil did not discuss a motion and there was no direct outcome from the debates.
Notwithstanding this setback, the statements did result in a strong endorsement from all party leaders of the call for the release of documents by the British government . Even more importantly, all parties were in agreement in endorsing the proposal for a cross-party motion on the Barron Reports.
As a result of the statements, Justice for the Forgotten is currently working with members of all parties to ensure the speedy passage of this motion.
More on the findings of the Sub-Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights.
As the Taoiseach noted, the Sub-Committee made a number of stark assessments relating to the Barron reports. These include:
- The Sub-Committee is left in no doubt that collusion between the British security forces and terrorists was behind many, if not all, of the atrocities considered in this report. We are horrified that persons who were employed by the British administration to preserve peace and to protect people were engaged in the creation of violence and the butchering of innocent victims.
- The Sub-Committee believes that unless the full truth about collusion is established and those involved either admit or are fixed with responsibility then there cannot be closure for the families.
- The Sub-Committee is of the view that given that we are dealing with acts of international terrorism that were colluded in by the British security forces, the British Government cannot legitimately refuse to co-operate with investigations and attempts to get to the truth.
- The Sub-Committee notes that the British cabinet was aware of the level to which the security forces had been infiltrated by terrorists and we believe that its inadequate response to this knowledge permitted the problem to continue and to grow.