I welcome Government’s decision to file the Hooded Men appeal. Their 50 year campaign for truth and justice will now continue. The appeal will be heard by a panel of five judges at the Grand Chamber of European Court of Human Rights.
The decision to refer the request for a revision of the 1978 decision to the Grand Chamber is to be welcomed by all who have campaigned for human rights in Ireland and indeed globally. This case should not simply be viewed in the context of the Irish conflict. Rather it goes to the very heart of defining what torture is. It is important that a message is sent out that torture is unacceptable regardless of the perpetrator.
I want to thank the men themselves for attending the Seanad last month when we debated our motion urging the Government to make this move in a timely manner. I acknowledge the relentless campaign by the Hooded Men which has gone on now for nearly 50 years. I would urge the Government to continue to engage with them and offer assistance to both the men and their legal team. We have come so far in this campaign but there is still a need for focused and rational action in the months ahead.
I thank my colleague An Seanadóir Niall Ó Donnghaile for his consistent and hard-working approach to this issue. Senator Ó Donnghaile’s work and the support of Senator Ian Marshall, underlines the benefits of an all-island approach to some of the most difficult issues facing us. I also want to thank my fellow seanadóirí from all political backgrounds for their support for the motion we laid before the Seanad. Human rights and the prevention of torture is the concern of all, and this was reflected in the unanimous support for the motion on the day.