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Statement from the Secretary of State on the Operation Kenova Interim Report

The statement follows the findings of the report that was published on the 8th of March.

Northern Ireland Secretary, Chris Heaton-Harris, recently said:

This statement is in response to the publication of the Operation Kenova Interim Report into the activities of an alleged agent known as ‘STAKEKNIFE’, which has just been published by the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

There can be no doubt that the way Operation Kenova has conducted its work since being commissioned in 2016 has gained the trust of many families who have long been seeking answers as to what exactly happened when their loved ones were so brutally murdered by, and on the orders of, the Provisional IRA.

Over 3,500 people from all parts of the community were killed during the Troubles and tens of thousands more injured. Over 1,000 of those killed were members of the security forces. Their bravery, courage, dedication and sacrifice in seeking to uphold democracy and the rule of law must never be forgotten.

We must remember too that the vast majority of deaths during the Troubles, around 90 per cent, were perpetrated by terrorist organisations - in the substance of this report, by the Provisional IRA.

As this is an “interim” report, I will not comment at this time on behalf of the Government on the detail of the report. It contains several specific, very serious allegations that remain subject to consideration by the courts.

It would not be right for the Government to make any comment on the substance of the Interim Report until the conclusion of litigation related to it. I note the recent decisions made by the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland in relation to files passed to them by Operation Kenova, which once again go to show how difficult it is to achieve criminal justice outcomes in legacy cases. Due to numerous related civil cases, however, that remain ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time. There is also the prospect of appeals against any of the recent decisions made by the Director for Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland.

I would like to put on record again my deepest sympathy with all the families who lost loved ones during the Troubles - including as a result of the actions of the Provisional IRA.


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