Aging Irish Republican Army terrorists will fess up to decades-old atrocities as part of the proposed Irish Truth Process in Northern Ireland.
The IRA terrorists have indicated to the British government that they would disclose never-before-heard details that may help bereaved families “get to the truth,” government sources told The Sunday Times of London.
“Our intelligence is that there are some who will now want to come forward because they are of an age when they want to unburden and share information which might mean families get the truth they didn’t have,” a source told the paper.
The British government is also preparing legislation that would effectively grant amnesty to all Troubles-related prosecutions up until 1998, the year the Good Friday Agreement was reached.
It is also preparing to release files from the M15 intelligence agency on its activities during the Troubles — the civil war between Catholic and Protestant populations that has plagued Northern Ireland for more than half a century.
The legislation is meant to end litigation against British veterans — but would also mean an end to the prosecution of IRA and loyalist paramilitaries.
Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland secretary, plans for an independent body styled on South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission to help family members understand what happened to lost loved ones and allow witnesses to testify without threat of prosecution.
Brendan Hughes, 74, a former commander of the Provisional IRA, or PIRA, said he would be willing to cooperate in such an inquiry. Government sources told the paper higher-profile IRA bigs are willing to give evidence as well.
“If anyone wanted to know anything about what I was involved in, I would be there. Everybody should come out and say, ‘We did it and that’s why we did it.’ I feel very strongly about truth and reconciliation because there will be no reconciliation until the truth is revealed,” he told the Irish News. “It was a dirty little colonial war and nobody came out winners.”