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 by which means letters of comfort issued to so-called On-the-Runs were requested, issued and transmitted to the individuals concerned.

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

Under the administrative scheme for dealing with so called “on-the-runs”, inquiries from individuals wishing to establish if they were wanted by police in relation to suspected terrorist activities were communicated by Sinn Fein via the Northern Ireland Office to the Attorney-General. The Attorney-General referred the inquiries to the prosecuting authorities and the police who carried out the factual checks. The Government communicated the response back to Sinn Fein via a letter from the Northern Ireland Office signed by a senior official.

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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