Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Peace Train Organisation

  The Peace Train Organisation has been involved in the campaign to oppose exiling people from Northern Ireland and indeed the Republic of Ireland by paramilitary organisations.

  The organisation was involved with New Dialogue, a UK based peace organisation, and other organisations, in raising the awareness regarding the exiling of people from the island of Ireland.

  The Peace Train Organisation, in conjunction with the Unitarian Church in Dublin, held a vigil which was attended by public representatives from most of the main political parties around the issue of exiles.

  In our discussions with one paramilitary organisation, the Ulster Volunteer Force, they did give a commitment that they no longer see exiling as a mechanism to be used regarding antisocial activity.

  However, the Peace Train is concerned that a number of people who have been exiled from Northern Ireland and the Republic are not aware as to whether it is safe for them to return home, and as to what is the position of the various paramilitary organisations. We are also concerned that the British Government's response has not been strong enough both in condemning these activities and knitting them into considerations regarding prisoner release and also providing adequate assistance to these people.


  The Peace Train Organisation is aware of a number of cases, both north and south, where people living outside both jurisdictions, Northern Ireland and the Republic, are afraid to return because they feel vulnerable. Whilst it may not be pertinent to the terms of reference of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee's inquiry into relocation of paramilitary victims, I would like to make a couple of points regarding persons exiled from the Republic of Ireland.

  We are aware of a number of people falling into the following categories, former paramilitaries, former security force members of the British Armed Forces, and serving members of the British Armed Forces who are concerned about their welfare if they return to Ireland. In the light of both Governments suspending any charges against paramilitaries who are now living outside the jurisdictions of the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom, we believe it is important that the political organisations associated with paramilitaries make some reciprocal statement. As can be appreciated the persons who are involved in these categories would not at this stage wish to have their names mentioned.

27 October 2000

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