Long says report shows need for dealing with past more crucial than ever

East Belfast MP Naomi Long has said the release of a report into the administration of the so-called ‘on-the-runs’ scheme shows how crucial a process for dealing with the past has become.

Alliance MP Mrs Long was speaking after the publication of the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee report, which found the scheme should never have existed. It also stated the integrity of the criminal justice system had been damaged by the scheme, as well as the credibility of the political process.

Committee member Mrs Long said the lack of a way forward on our past compounded the daily hurt experienced by victims and survivors of the Troubles.

“While this report said the scheme might not have been illegal, it showed it was certainly ill-conceived, which is no surprise to anyone aware of the details. Although it was not considered as such, in one case it essentially acted as a de facto amnesty, while potentially doing the same in other instances.

“The fact victims were left in the dark compounded their hurt. The secrecy surrounding this scheme, compounded by its general mismanagement, allowed many of those who should have been held to account to escape.

“Lessons need to be taken onboard and learnt from. If we want to deal with the past and do so in a comprehensive way to allow us to move on, we need to do so in an open and transparent manner. Victims deserve not only the truth about what happened in the past but the truth about what is being done in the present.”


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