Northern Ireland written question – answered on 4th March 2014.

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Photo of Naomi Long Naomi Long Alliance, Belfast East

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland who (a) signed and (b) issued the 38 letters of comfort to on-the-runs issued since 2010 and since devolution of Policing and Justice to the Northern Ireland Assembly; on behalf of which Government department they were acting; and which Minister or Ministers had oversight of this process.

Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

No new cases have been raised with this Government since the 2010 general election. 38 individuals were already under consideration before the election and the checking process was allowed to continue under the current Government. Of these 38 cases, 12 received a letter saying that they were not currently wanted in relation to terrorist offences. These were signed by a senior official in the Northern Ireland Office.

On 27 February, the Prime Minister announced that a judge would be appointed to undertake an independent review to provide a full public account of the operation and extent of the administrative scheme for so called “on-the-runs”. I expect the report to be provided to me by the end of May 2014 for the purpose of its full publication.

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