Ellis hits back at Flanagan statement

The Sinn Féin TD Dessie Ellis has hit back at a statement made by Fine Gael's party chairman Charlie Flanagan, that if an Independent Truth Commission were to be set up Deputy Ellis should be the first person to come before it.

Deputy Flanagan's remarks come after newly-released State papers from the 1980s show that Mr Ellis is believed to have been involved in 50 murders during the Troubles.

The allegations were made in British government files from 1982, which were released by the National Archives in London and published in today's media.

Reacting to the information - Fine Gael's Charlie Flanagan said "We cannot simply forget the past and sweep the issues which strike at the very heart of the democratic process under the carpet to suit Sinn Féin"

He went on to say Sinn Féin's suggestion of establishing an Independent Truth Commission should come to pass and that if it happens, Dessie Ellis should be the first person to be brought before it.

But in a statement this evening, Dessie Ellis has denied the allegations, adding that he beat the charges in court in the 1990s.

He said it's ironic that Deputy Flanagan is calling for him to come before an Independent Truth & Reconciliation Commission, a body which he says, Sinn Féin proposed be set up, and yet which Deputy Flanagan's Government has so far failed to establish.

Full statement from Sinn Féin Dublin North West TD Dessie Ellis:

“It is interesting that Fine Gael's Charlie Flanagan places such importance on the unsubstantiated claims of British intelligence – the same shadowy forces who murdered so many Irish citizens over the years.

“I'm sure that it hasn't escaped Deputy Flanagan's attention that I was cleared by a British court of these trumped up allegations which begs the question as to where he is coming from.

“Mr Flanagan mentions without any hint of irony the need for an Independent Truth & Reconciliation Commission despite the fact that it is Sinn Féin who have led such calls and despite the fact that Mr Flanagan's government has done nothing at all to support the establishment of such a process.

“I enthusiastically support the establishment of an Independent International Truth and Reconciliation Commission to deal with the legacy of conflict in Ireland. I hope Charlie Flanagan will follow up his new found support for such a process with positive action to pressurize his colleagues in government to act on this.

“Finally, let me say that I am very proud of my involvement in the republican struggle over the years and of the leadership role republicans have played in the peace process, despite the best efforts of nay-sayers such as Charlie Flanagan and his ilk.”

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