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In 2014, for instance, investigators from the Irish broadcaster RTÉ uncovered a 1977 letter from the then home secretary, Merlyn Rees, to the prime minister of the day, James Callaghan, in which Rees claimed that ministers had given permission for torture to be used in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.
Just look at the average income in The North, €23,700 compared to The South, €39,873.
The Republic’s industrial output is 10 times bigger than The North’s but its workforce is only 2.5 times bigger.
“There will be a new British-Irish Agreement dealing with the totality of relationships.’’ Geddit? “In recognition of the Irish government’s special interest in Northern Ireland and of the extent to which issues of mutual concern arise in relation to Northern Ireland, there will be regular and frequent meetings of the conference concerned with non-devolved Northern Ireland matters, on which the Irish government may put forward views and proposals.
These meetings, to be co-chaired by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, would also deal with all-island and cross-border cooperation on non-devolved issues.” There’s a lot more.
It was a fail safe mechanism in case devolution failed.
In that event all devolved matters revert to the remit of the BIIGC.
The files, each containing dozens of pages, cover subjects such as the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the British colonial administration in Palestine, tests on polio vaccines and territorial disputes between the UK and Argentina. The loss of so many documents of such significance has understandably caused concern among historians, politicians and human rights groups.
Amnesty International has called on Theresa May to order an urgent government-wide search for the documents, while Labor MP Jon Trickett has warned that the loss “will only fuel accusations of a cover-up”.
Perhaps you can see now why the DUP deny the BIIGC’s existence though they are fully aware of its role? For the hardliners among the DUP MPs, any role for the Irish government in The North has always been anathema.