Protest as new ‘truth’ body starts up
Protest as new ‘truth’ body starts up


Doubts have been expressed at claims by a controversial former RUC police figure that he consulted “senior republicans” before applying to head up a new British “information recovery” team.

Peter Sheridan was named last week as the new ‘Commissioner for Investigations’ at the so-called ‘Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery’ (ICRIR) which is to replace all other investigations under new legislation.

The new law ends all inquests civil cases and prosecutions. Multiple legal challenges opposing it have been lodged with the High Court in Belfast.

Families of the victims of British war crimes have previously urged nationalists to boycott the new organisation.

No republican has confirmed speaking to Sheridan about his new role, established under the British government’s so-called ‘Bill of Shame’ to give effect to an overarching cover-up of events during the conflict.

Former Chief Justice Declan Morgan has been appointed as chief commissioner of the new body, while Sheridan, a former Assistant Chief Constable with the RUC/PSNI, will head ‘investigations’.

A member of the British Crown Forces for 32 years, Sheridan retired in 2008 and was later appointed as chief executive of Co-Operation Ireland, a ‘peace’ organisation reputedly considered to be an MI5 front by Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness.

As Commissioner for Investigations, he will sit as an executive member of the ICRIR and act as Chair of the ‘Investigative Oversight Board’.

Sheridan claimed he had support from people he described as “senior thinking republicans”. He has previously headed Special Branch, and there are concerns among about how he intends use his inside knowledge of war crimes committed by the Crown Forces.

Speaking to the Irish News, Sheridan agreed that he had “encountered sensitive and secret information”, but that under the new legislation, the Crown Forces are “duty bound” to co-operate with the ICRIR.

“Not only will there be conversations, there will be written protocols and there are penalties for people who don’t assist,” he declared.

Campaigners against the new legacy laws have already confronted the truth recovery body to leave them “in no doubt” of their concerns. Members of the Time for Truth Campaign group held a protest on Tuesday outside the Belfast city centre offices of the ICRIR.

Group spokesman Ciarán MacAirt said: “The families of the Time for Truth Campaign have campaigned tirelessly for the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement and lawful, human rights-compliant mechanisms for dealing with the legacy of the past. This included collecting nearly 15,000 signatures in support of our campaign in December 2020.”

Mr MacAirt said the legacy legislation would be used to “bury war crimes in Ireland”.

“We welcomed the opportunity today to tell the Chief Commissioner of the ICRIR in no uncertain terms that we give no credence to this British organisation, as it is an attack on our basic human rights and our fight for truth and justice continues unabated,” he said.

Sinn Féin has not commented on either appointment. The party’s policing spokesperson, Gerry Kelly, said the party will continue to stand with families in their campaigns for truth and justice and called on the Irish government to take an interstate case against the British government on their new legislation.

“The British government pushed through their Legacy Act despite having no support from victims’ families and survivors, the Irish government, human rights experts both domestically and internationally, leading international lawyers from across Europe, Senators and Congress members in the US, as well as the EU Human Rights’ Commissioner, the UN Rapporteurs, and all of the political parties on this island,” he said.

“The Legacy Act is atrocious and shows a blatant disregard for victims and their families and their right to access truth and justice.

“The Irish government need to confront this denial of human rights and breach of international human rights law through an interstate case and international action against the British government.

“Sinn Féin will continue to stand with families in their campaigns for truth and justice, many of whom have been campaigning with dignity and determination for five decades.”

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