02 September 2005

Party concerned by 'on the runs'


The Alliance Party wants the government to make changes to the scheme for dealing with so-called "on the runs".

Legislation is due to be enacted this autumn on people suspected of terrorism who have not been brought to court and those who have fled prison.

However, Alliance leader David Ford has said it contains anomalies.

"There was nothing in the IRA statement in July about those who they have exiled from Northern Ireland," Mr Ford said.

"We believe that the first thing that should happen is the secretary of state should have to certify that any threat against exiles has been lifted before an organisation's on the runs should be allowed home."

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain announced the government would bring forward legislation on the issue after the IRA said it was ending its armed campaign in July.

Mr Ford said that another major weakness in what the government is proposing is that on the runs would not have to appear in court.

"An appearance in court would give some limited recognition of the offences committed, and may give some victims a limited sense of justice," Mr Ford said.

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