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article imageAmnesty letters may topple Northern Ireland’s unity government

By Justin King     Feb 26, 2014 in World
Belfast County Borough - Amnesty letters sent out as part of peacemaking efforts after the 1998 Good Friday agreement are causing an issue more than 15 years later, and threatening to topple the unity government in Northern Ireland.
The letters promised Irish Republican Army veterans that they would not be prosecuted for actions conducted before the letters were signed and granted safe passage through the UK.
The leader of Northern Ireland’s unity government is threatening to quit over the letters and the fact that he was not informed of their existence. First Minister Peter Robinson said that his party would not have formed a coalition government with Sinn Fein if the letters were public knowledge. The coalition between Robinson’s Democratic Unionists, a party loyal to Britain, and Sinn Fein, a party historically in favor of Irish independence was formed in 2007. The coalition government has been one of the main things keeping the peace in the North as Irish Republicans again engage in military operations.
An IRA wall mural
An IRA wall mural
PCCC Antifa on Flick'r
Recently, the trial of John Downey, a man implicated in the 1982 bombing that left four British cavalry soldiers dead in Hyde Park, was terminated after it was determined he had received one of the letters in 2007. 23 others were wounded in the attack on the Queen’s official bodyguard. Downey denied his involvement in the attack.
Downey is among at least 187 recipients of letters stating that they would not be prosecuted, even if they returned to British soil. Robinson said he wants
a full judicial inquiry into all of these matters, so that we can see who knew, when they knew, and what they knew. I want to know who the 187 people are that received these letters, if indeed it is only 187 people, because I wouldn't believe anything I hear any longer.
As the possibility of Scottish Independence becomes more of a reality, it is expected that Irish nationalism will surge and possibly bolster support for Irish Republican Army activities.
More about Northern ireland, irish republican army, hyde park bombing, Peter robinson, John Downey
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