The future of the controversial Eames/Bradley proposals for dealing with the ‘legacy’ of conflict appears bleak after one of its authors lashed out at victims’ groups and Sinn Fein for seeking an independent truth recovery process.
An independent, international process was not achievable, he insisted, calling for groups such as Relatives for Justice and the Omagh victims’ group to cease their campaigns. He said it was “not fair” to the surviving victims and relatives to “raise expectations” in this regard.
The British government has yet to give any indication of what it plans to do with the report, or if it will implement any of the 31 recommendations.
Among them is the controversial plan to scrap any future public inquiries and investigations of any kind after five years.
Sinn Fein Dail leader Caoimhghin O Caolain TD and West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty both attended the meeting of the Dublin parliament’s Good Friday Agreement Implementation Committee, at which Bradley made his comments.
The Sinn Fein politicians set out their party’s concerns about the formation of the Consultative Group itself, the recommendation for a Legacy Commission and the need for a truly independent and international truth recovery process.
Pat Doherty MP, MLA said, “In common with many within the nationalist/republican community we had grave concerns about the formation of the Eames/Bradley Commission.
“This group was set up by the British Government, had its members appointed by the British Government, is funded by the British Government, had its terms of reference set by the British Government and finally the British Government retained the right to cherry pick which recommendations from its report that they wish to implement.
“As protagonists and active participants in the conflict the British Government are in no position to act as independent arbitrators in deciding the shape of any truth recovery process.
“Despite this Sinn Fein met with the Eames/Bradley Group and made a detailed submission. We set out number of benchmarks against which we would measure the report from the group.
“For us the report had to be about truth recovery and for such a truth recovery process to be successful it needed to be independent, victim centred, effective and international. The British State needs to be identified as protagonists and not innocent observers.”
Deputy O Caolain said, “The Consultative Group’s proposal for the creation of a Legacy Commission appointed by the British government is not the independent and international commission, established by a reputable international body like the UN, that Sinn Fein believes is necessary to properly address this issue.
“Vesting the legal authority for the Commission solely with the British government runs contrary to the bi-national and inter-governmental approach of the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement.
“We believe the flaw in the process has been demonstrated in the way the Consultative Group’s Report has been dealt with by the British government. As the originator of the Group it felt free to cherry pick the report.”