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Niall Carson/PA
Hyde Park

Gilmore: We can never forget the terrible events that occurred during the Troubles

The Tánaiste was responding to news that a judge will review a covert deal that allowed IRA suspects to escape prosecution.

TÁNAISTE EAMON GILMORE has welcomed British Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement today that a judge will review a covert deal that allowed IRA suspects on the run to escape prosecution.

Earlier today, Taoiseach Enda Kenny confirmed that the Irish government was involved in the controversial ruling whihc allowed John Downey, the man accused of the Hyde Park bombing, to walk free from court. The ruling centred around letters given to dozens of IRA suspects telling them they were no longer wanted by the police.

Before Cameron’s statement today, First Minister Peter Robinson said he was not aware of the existence of the letters and threatened to resign unless the 187 letters were rescinded and a judicial inquiry was set up.

Commenting this evening, Gilmore said given “the importance and sensitivity of the scheme, it is essential that it is managed carefully and to the highest standards”.

“The Irish government has always taken very seriously the need to deal sensitively with the legacy of the past,” he said. “This informs our support for the ongoing political talks in Northern Ireland.”

We can never forget the terrible events that occurred during the Troubles and we must pay heed to the ongoing suffering of surviving victims of the Troubles in Ireland and in Britain, some of whom will not and should not be expected to forgive.

However the Tánaiste said we cannot allow the past “to destroy the peace and stability of the present and the prospect of a better future for generations to come”.

“That is the most immediate and pressing challenge for the political leadership in Northern Ireland,” he added.

Related: Cameron orders review of secret IRA deal after Peter Robinson’s resignation threat>

Enda Kenny: Yes, the Irish government knew about Hyde Park bomb deal>

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