The DUP’s North Antrim MP Ian Paisley has demanded that the Secretary of State repeat her previous statement that the On-The-Run letters are now worthless.
On Tuesday morning Mr Paisley tabled an Urgent Question in the House of Commons on the matter in light of another court case breaking down when a letter was produced by a leading suspect in the inquiry into the murder of Gareth O’Connor.
In a question to the Secretary of State, Mr Paisley said,
“The most disturbing aspect of what the Secretary of State has told the House today, is the fact that the O’Connor murder relates to a post 1998 murder that occurred in 2003. We have been consistently told that the names of the OTRs were critical to securing the 1998 peace agreement yet this murder post dates that occurrence.”
Speaking from Westminster the North Antrim MP said, “The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee have been conducting its inquiry for the past year. We have been repeatedly told from the most senior members of the Northern Ireland Office and figures from the previous Labour Government including Tony Blair that the John Downey incident was a ‘catastrophic error’, a mistake on their part. Their words were taken by the Committee in good faith, but now all of that must be called in to question following yesterday’s revelation of yet another letter.”
The Secretary of State had previously told the Inquiry that the letters “can no longer be relied on” and was this morning pressed to confirm categorically whether that means they are worthless and won’t prevent any courts from pursuing justice in murder trials such as the murder of Mr O’Connor.
Mr Paisley questioned further, “Would she [Secretary of State] agree that Gerry Kelly must be formally investigated for how these letters have been distributed and to whom?”
Speaking afterwards Mr Paisley added, “Gerry Kelly must surely now be investigated over his role in this scheme given that he was the man to deliver this letter and he must now be forced to give evidence under oath as to his participation in the administration of this scheme.”