Northern Ireland news

Victims of Troubles in Republic excluded from legacy proposals

Austin Stack, whose chief prison officer father Brian was murdered by the IRA
Noel McAdam

VICTIMS of Troubles-related violence in the Republic are being excluded from new proposals for dealing with the legacy of the past.

Families say they will not be allowed to access planned support services and the Historical Investigations Unit (HIU).

They are angry that no formal consultations are being held in the Republic, even though the Dublin government was involved in agreeing the long-delayed blueprint.

Officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs who attended a recent public meeting in Bangor were given a "roasting" by victims' families.

There are an estimated 98 incidents in the Republic linked to the Troubles. Many involve more than one fatality, including the Monaghan bombings in which 30 people died.

The HIU was proposed in the Stormont House Agreement to take forward investigations into Troubles-related deaths.

Austin Stack, whose chief prison officer father Brian was murdered by the IRA, said: "The southern government seems to take the view that we are a relatively small group without political clout to the extent that we are, for want of a better word, disposable.

"There's also the view which is common enough that the Troubles were not really much to do with the south, that it was all in the north - and they want to keep it that way."

Mr Stack was among victims' campaigners who challenged DFA officials at the meeting.

"It is an indictment of our government in Dublin that the only organised meeting to discuss these issues was facilitated for us by victims groups in the north," Mr Stack added.

"Apart from the 98 incidents, a lot of people from Northern Ireland came down here after various things happened in the north but they will not have access to the same support and other measures which victims groups in the north will.

"Victims groups in the Republic have also been told they will not be able to use the Historical Investigations Unit, even though it may require legislation to be passed in the Dail in terms of the co-operation between the PSNI and Garda, for example.

"We gave the DFA a roasting and asked why the measures are very specifically drawn up for Northern Ireland and do not in any shape of form include the Republic."

Other victims present included Ann McCabe, whose detective Garda husband Gerry McCabe was gunned down by the IRA in a post office robbery in Adare in 1996 and Eugene Oliver, whose father Tom was killed by the IRA in July 1991.

Ann Travers, whose sister Mary was shot dead by the IRA as the family left Mass in 1984, also attended the meeting.

"The consultation document states that UK residents can reply and this needs to be amended. There is also no reason why the Irish government could not set up something similar to the HIU in their jurisdiction," she said.

"Irish victims have been completely forgotten by their government in this process, which is disgraceful, shocking and disappointing."

People living in the south say they would also not be allowed to use the Oral History Archive which is intended to produce a factual historical timeline and statistical analysis of the Troubles.

The Department of Foreign Affairs declined to comment.

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