Northern Ireland coroners to be granted access to Garda testimony
Landmark legislation to allow coroners in Northern Ireland to access relevant Garda testimony has been passed by both houses of the Oireachtas.
The Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Bill 2019 was introduced to underpin the Irish Government’s commitments under the Stormont House Agreement in 2014.
Welcoming the passing of the bill, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said: “As Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, I was intimately involved in the negotiation of the Stormont House Agreement and as Minister for Justice and Equality I am very happy to deliver the legal measures necessary to underpin the commitments on legacy matters.
“This legislation is important for victims’ families in coronial proceedings in Northern Ireland and represents concrete progress on the part of the Government to dealing with the painful legacy of conflict in Northern Ireland. Acknowledging the needs of the victims of the Troubles is a key aspect of our efforts to support and to promote reconciliation.
“This legislation will respond to the needs of coroners in Northern Ireland and Britain dealing with legacy cases to access testimony from An Garda Síochána where this is relevant to their inquests.
“It will also provide a structured mechanism to enhance co-operation with a number of bodies dealing with deaths related to the troubles, including 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.”