Press release

Press briefing: afternoon 27 February

The Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) answered questions on Northern Ireland and the German Chancellor's visit.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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Northern Ireland

Asked about the judge-led review into letters sent to republican paramilitary suspects in Northern Ireland, the PMS explained the review will be asked to produce a full public account of the operation and the extent to the administration of the scheme ’On The Runs’; to determine whether any letters sent through the scheme contained errors; and to make any recommendations as necessary. The Police Ombudsman has been brought in to look at a specific case of a letter sent in error.

When asked for further details of the inquiry, the PMS said there would be an announcement on who will be the judge in the inquiry shortly. The inquiry was expected to provide findings by the end of May. It would be able to call on anyone to provide evidence.

When asked if First Minister Peter Robinson should have been told about the letters, the PMS said that the launch of the inquiry is an acknowledgement of the strength of the concerns expressed, and it is important there is a full public account of what took place. He reiterated that the letters were not an amnesty but a way of informing individuals whether they were sought for arrest or not.

German Chancellor visit

Asked about the discussion the PM had with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on European reform, the PMS said that there was an ongoing discussion on the subject.

Published 27 February 2014