‘Who says the two year limit on prison sentences for Troubles offences excludes the security forces?’ – Asks CAJ’s Daniel Holder

The early release scheme for prisoners convicted of a “scheduled offence,” part of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, meant that they were all released within two years. Furthermore, the legislation – the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998 – provided that anyone later convicted for a scheduled offence committed before April 1998 would serve a maximum of…

‘Questions for the Opposition’ – By Colm Dore

This election raises questions for the out-going Executive, but also questions for the out-going Opposition. Much Opposition criticism of the Executive appears to deny the basis upon which the Executive functions. The Executive is based on nurturing a post-conflict relationship between the leaders of the Irish nationalist and Unionist communities. The SDLP say that, with…

‘Mike Nesbitt may be left feeling that he has been trying to put clothes on an invisible man’ – By Terry Wright

Some faded campaign posters, re-cycled from the Fresh Start election of May 2016 appeared within days of the announcement of the election.  Election literature has been arriving through the letterbox to lie scattered like a packet of spilled jellybeans.  There is more than a passing irony in both situations. Spin and evasive point scoring dominates…

‘Nothing about us without us’ – By John Kyle

On 17th September 1997 David Trimble, flanked by David Ervine and Billy Hutchinson, returned to the George Mitchell talks in the full glare of the world’s media thus rescuing talks which were teetering precariously on the brink of collapse.   This was not the only important contribution that Loyalist parties made to the negotiations which…

‘Two Fermanagh voices’ – by Eamonn Mallie 

Two Fermanagh voices: Gordon Wilson forgives the IRA killers of his daughter Marie; Arlene Foster compares Sinn Féin to crocodiles. On November 8 1987 a huge IRA bomb killed Marie Wilson daughter of local business man Gordon Wilson… This was his account of watching his daughter dying. “We were both thrown forward, rubble and stones…

‘GOVERNMENT PANICS ABOUT THE PAST’ – By Brian Rowan

Bedfordshire Chief Constable Jon Boutcher ignored the advice to stay away from Northern Ireland; to stay away from the dark tunnels and tangled webs of its violent past. He has now assembled a team of fifty detectives. There is a London Headquarters for Operation Kenova and the Boutcher team has a constant presence in Northern…