Category: Archive

Parties differ on fate of 3

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The most strident response came from the DUP deputy leader, Peter Robinson, who said the Taoiseach would himself be called a terrorist unless he ordered the gardai to arrest the three and send them back to Colombia.
He said he had spoken to the British government expressing grave concern and saying that, if Dublin allowed “these fugitives from justice” to live freely, it would be “an intolerable affront”.
He said the DUP was looking for their immediate arrest and their handing over to the Colombian authorities “by whatever means necessary”. If the Taoiseach failed to do so, he said, unionists would regard him as complicit in terrorism.
“These three men were intricately involved in the global terrorist network”, said Robinson, “Bertie Ahern would do well to remember the words of President Bush when he said ‘those who harbor terrorists, are terrorists.'”
“If Bertie Ahern fails to hand these men over, then in President Bush and our terms, he is a terrorist collaborator. We demand the clearest statement from our own Prime Minister that if these fugitives put one foot in Northern Ireland they will be arrested.”
The Northern Ireland Office in Belfast said: “If they enter the United Kingdom, any extradition request will be dealt with without delay”.
Senior Ulster Unionist, Michael McGimpsey, said, “It is surely no co-incidence that they arrived home after the events of the last fortnight emanating from the IRA statement.
“The Irish government is unlikely to send them back as this move is part of the latest concession choreography to republicans. Once again, despicable political expediency is replacing common sense and due process.”
SDLP Policing spokesperson, Alex Attwood, did not demand the men’s extradition, nor did he welcome their return home. “These men were clearly up to no good. They served time for traveling on false passports,” he said.
“They jumped bail. Above all, people should not forget the huge damage that they did to the peace process. Their return will not be celebrated by democratic nationalists across the island.”
This theme was taken up by fellow party member and justice spokesman, Alban Maginness.
“Yet again the antics of the Colombia Three are doing huge damage to the peace process,” he said.
“Not only does this situation damage Sinn Fein, it damages the peace process. It is clear as day that these men were in a place they should not have been. Sinn Fein’s refusal to come clean only damages the peace process and further damages trust.”
The Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams, denied all the claims that the return of the three had been in any way part of a deal on the IRA’s recent statement. “I would hope that they can now get on with their lives,” he said.
“This issue was not discussed with the Irish government nor was it either a deal or a side deal related to recent developments in the peace process.”

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