Unrepentant Blair should apologise for OTR letter hurt

Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart has challenged former Prime Minister Tony Blair for issuing ‘on the run’ letters to 200 IRA terrorists when he was Prime Minister. Mr Blair was giving evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee in Westminster today as part of its inquiry into the effectiveness of the institutions of the Belfast Agreement.

By Carla Lockhart MP

Upper Bann

View Profile

The DUP MP said,

“Tony Blair famously visited Coleraine two days prior to the referendum on the Belfast Agreement to provide five pledges, writing them by hand on a large whiteboard, which were depicted as assurances to unionists.

Pledge 3 stated “Fairness and equality [will be] guaranteed for all.” Yet, in 2000, he hatched the secretive ‘Get out of jail free’ letters plan, issued to members of the Provisional IRA listed for him by Sinn Fein.

I challenged the former Prime Minister to explain how this scheme met his pledge of fairness and equality for all, especially victims. This immoral scheme caused immeasurable hurt to victims of terrorism, and perverted the pathway to justice in what was a most unequal and unfair scheme at the behest of Mr Blair.

As expected, no regret or remorse was shown for his leading role in the scheme. One would have hoped that having seen the hurt caused by the OTR scheme, he would have had time to reflect and reconsider the appropriateness of the scheme. That is clearly not the case.

Of course we now face our current Governments legacy proposals, offering an effective amnesty to terrorists. As it was in 2000, it remains in 2023. The door to justice must never be closed.”

Become a Supporter

  • ${ error }
  • ${ error }
  • ${ error }

We’ll email you about campaigns, events and opportunities to get involved.
Find out more about how we use your information.