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Volume 623: debated on Wednesday 15 March 2017

1. If he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of recent statements by Gerry McGeough on the judiciary. (909171)

I condemn the irresponsible and disgraceful comments made by Gerry McGeough. I strongly support the work of the judiciary in Northern Ireland. Any attack on it is unacceptable.

I thank the Minister for his response, but I call on him to contact the Public Prosecution Service to find out why a man who was convicted of the attempted murder of my colleague Councillor Sammy Brush and released on licence following his conviction, and who is known to have a lengthy history of violence, is not being pursued by the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the PPS for his recent threat against Catholic members of the judiciary, whom he named as traitors. What will the Minister do to ensure that action is taken?

I reiterate our condemnation of the comments made by Gerry McGeough. Our responsibility, if we are given the relevant information, is to consider whether we can suspend the licence. It is up to the independent commissioners to discuss that. It would be wrong for us to seek to fix the system further down. I trust our police service and the PPS to make the right decision.

The Minister will know that Mr McGeough did not receive a comfort letter, apparently because of an internal feud within Sinn Féin. The scheme for issuing comfort letters to those on the run—a scheme operated by Labour and Conservative Governments—was utterly deplorable, completely immoral and wrong. Will the Minister confirm for the record that no such scheme, or anything akin to an amnesty, is on the table for negotiation with Sinn Féin in dealing with legacy issues? That would be very helpful.