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 was responsible for fact-checking statements submitted by the Police Service of Northern Ireland to permit letters of comfort to be issued by officials to on-the-runs; and under whose ministerial authority were they acting.

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

The administrative scheme dealing with so called “on-the-runs” was authorised by Ministers under the last Government. The Attorney-General referred inquiries about individuals to the prosecuting authorities and the PSNI who carried out the factual checks. The PSNI advised whether individuals were wanted by the police. The Government communicated the response back to Sinn Fein via a letter from the Northern Ireland Office. Letters were issued based on the information provided by the PSNI.

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, which will include a factual check of all letters issued. 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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