Law granting Northern Ireland coroners access to Garda testimony commenced

Landmark legislation to allow coroners in Northern Ireland to access relevant Garda testimony has been brought into force.

The Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act 2019, which was passed by the Oireachtas this summer as part of the Government’s obligations under the 2014 Stormont House Agreement, was commenced by Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan yesterday.

Mr Flanagan said the new law “will respond to the needs of coroners in Northern Ireland and Britain dealing with legacy cases”.

He added: “It will also provide a structured mechanism to enhance co-operation with a number of bodies dealing with deaths related to the troubles.

“These include the Historical Investigations Unit to be established in Northern Ireland and the Ireland-UK Independent Commission on Information Retrieval, both of which arise from the Stormont House Agreement.”

The minister, who was personally involved in the Stormont House Agreement talks in his previous role as foreign affairs minister, said the legislation represents “concrete progress on the part of the Government in dealing with the painful legacy of conflict in Northern Ireland”.

He said he is “very happy to deliver the legal measures necessary to underpin the commitments on legacy matters”.

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