Ulster Human Rights Watch (UHRW) has asked Dublin for its proposals on legacy and how to deal with the past.

The Lurgan-based charity which champions the cause of innocent victims of terrorism was commenting after Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, criticised the Government’s Legacy and Reconciliation Bill.

UHRW Advocacy Manager, Axel Schmidt, said: “Dublin has failed to produce any ideas or proposals on how to deal with the past since the Stormont House Agreement.

“There is much in this draft Bill brought forward by the Secretary of State, Brandon Lewis, that we would oppose and challenge, but it is a bit rich for Mr Coveney to lambast what is set out and not look to the Republic of Ireland’s own shortcomings.

“The Irish Government cannot exclude itself from what happened in the past. There was a safe haven for terrorists across the border. Attacks were mounted on security personnel – many part-time soldiers and police officers – from the Republic of Ireland. People were abducted in Northern Ireland and brought across the frontier where they were tortured and murdered.

“Is Dublin’s trying to forget its role in all of this? Abdicate its responsibility? It cannot sweep away its own involvement or attempt to re-write history.

“Yet, we’ve heard nothing – complete radio silence – from the Department of Foreign Affairs when it comes to presenting its own suggestions or proposals on how to deal with the past.

“Mr Coveney cannot simply wash his hands of this and point the finger of blame at the British Ministers when his administration has failed to move the process forward constructively. It’s time for some frank and honest discussion without accusing the other side of getting it wrong.”