Inquiry must be judicial, not public: Alliance

Alliance Party Justice Spokesperson Stephen Farry has said that an inquiry into the “Stormontgate” affair must be judicial, not public. He added that such an inquiry should kick-start a public debate on issues of disclosure.

Dr Farry stated: “The only way to reveal who is telling the truth about ‘Stormontgate’ is a full judicial inquiry. This is the only way to tackle the simple fact that justice is not being served and the political process is being shattered.

“A public inquiry would do nothing but tell us what we already know, while jeopardizing informants. Calls by politicians for a public inquiry represent the height of naivety and irresponsibility.

“This issue goes well beyond ‘Stormontgate’. The Alliance Party never accepted this affair as the reason for the suspension of the Assembly — the Assembly fell because of ongoing paramilitary activity, including exiling, on all sides. This meant the necessary trust was lacking.

“However, even recently, we have also seen the Government appointing Commissioners without consultation or public appointment, the DPP dropping charges without any reason given, and NIO ministers overriding the IMC by claiming that paramilitary criminal activity has stopped before seeing its report next month. Is this any way to go about bringing trust into the process? In this context, it is clear we also need a full public debate on issues of disclosure.

“What we all know is that most people in Northern Ireland do not believe Sinn Féin, do not trust the UK Government, and do not have any faith in the political process. Both sides on this issue are riddled with doublespeak and hypocrisy.

“Those unable or unwilling to go about bringing some degree of honesty to the process, from Government ministers to party administrators, should not be responsible for it.”



DPP – Department of Public Prosecutions

IMC – International Monitoring Commission

NIO – Northern Ireland Office

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