Mansergh on the Inquiries Bill

Senator Martin Mansergh, a key influence on Irish Government thinking on the peace process, made some interesting comments on the Inquiries Bill during a debate last week:

Judge Cory, who carried out some excellent work, has expressed total dissatisfaction with the arrangements being made for the Finucane inquiry. Unfortunately, a pattern may be discerned. We have found it with the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1972 and 1974 and the Finucane and Nelson cases. I knew Rosemary Nelson and several months before she was blown up, she detailed some of the threats that had been made to an informal committee of the United States Congress. This response is not good enough from a democratic society.

From my observations, the British Government is enthralled to its security services. There is a history, particularly with British Labour Party Governments, of the security services taking some part in underground political opposition, possibly including collusion with the Opposition, to try to weaken and destabilise the Government. However, this is not a reason to be so enthralled and in a sense provides a greater incentive to investigate the issue. I find it unsatisfactory and objectionable that there are so many reserved areas and confused attitudes from a country that frequently holds itself up to the rest of the world as a model democracy. One hears similar sentiments from some Unionist spokespersons, who claim that the IRA committed so many murders that the Unionist community cannot stand many more inquiries of this kind. This point is made by representatives of a party led by a lawyer. One must be rigorous about this issue. Is state terrorism every bit as bad as paramilitary terrorism?







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