Government law would allow gardaí to give evidence at Northern Ireland legacy inquests
Gardaí would be allowed to give evidence at legacy inquests in Northern Ireland under proposed laws.
The Cabinet is acting on proposals to provide a “concrete assurance” that the Government is committed to “full implementation of the legacy mechanisms” detailed in the 2014 Stormont House Agreement.
Under the Criminal Justice International Co-operation Bill 2019, the testimony of gardaí can be made available to the Northern Ireland coroner dealing with inquests into events from the Troubles, The Irish Times reports.
Testimony may also be made available to other coroners’ inquests in the UK where there is substantial connection to the State.
In addition, the Cabinet seeks to allow the Garda Commissioner, with governmental consent, to enter agreements with non-law-enforcement bodies outside the State.
Speaking in relation to the murders of 10 people at Kingsmill, Co Armagh in 1976, the Attorney General Séamus Woulfe had said current laws fail to give gardaí a legal basis for the information sharing with organisations outside the state.
“The publication of this Bill, and its swift progress through the Oireachtas, will be a concrete assurance on the part of the Irish Government of its commitment to full implementation of the legacy mechanisms settled under the Stormont House Agreement,” the Department of Justice said.
“The implementation process has been unduly delayed by the political situation in Northern Ireland and at Westminster, and publication and enactment of this Bill by the Irish Government will act as an important stimulus for further action on the legacy framework from all parties to the Stormont House Agreement.”