IRA men on the run will not be let off

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The Independent Online

The Government has announced - to universal acclaim - that it is ditching its proposals to allow IRA fugitives to return to the UK without facing prison terms.

The U-turn was unveiled in the Commons by the Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Hain. The plan would have allowed republicans to return to Northern Ireland for legal proceedings in a special court. But the fugitives would not have been required to appear in court and, even if convicted, would not be jailed.

The move was welcomed by everyone from Sinn Fein to police officers to the Rev Ian Paisley's DUP. Most saw the proposals as an affront to victims and to democratic and legal practice in general, while republicans took issue with the fact that they would have covered not just IRA fugitives but also members of the security forces.