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Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter T.D., announces approval of the Government for the publication of the
Defence Forces (Second World War Amnesty and Immunity) Bill 2012.



The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence Mr. Alan Shatter T.D., today announces the approval of the Government for the publication of the Defence Forces (Second World War Amnesty and Immunity) Bill 2012.

On 12 June 2012 the Government, by way of an Announcement by the Minister for Defence to Dáil Éireann, apologised for the manner in which those members of the Defence Forces who left to fight on the Allied side during World War II were treated after the War by the State. As part of the Announcement the Government also committed to introducing legislation to grant a pardon/amnesty to those who absented themselves from the Defence Forces, without leave or permission, to fight on the Allied side.

In addressing the question of desertion during World War II, the Government acknowledged that the War gave rise to circumstances that were grave and exceptional. Members of the Defence Forces left their posts at that time to fight on the Allied side against tyranny and, together with many thousands of other Irish men and women, played an important role in defending freedom and democracy. Those who fought on the Allied side also contributed to protecting the State’s sovereignty and independence and democratic values.

The publication of the Bill which has now been approved, gives effect to the commitments given in the June Announcement.


Welcoming the Government's approval for the publication of the Bill, the Minister said, "
I hope that the action we have taken on this issue will put to rest the concerns of those individuals still alive, who fought for freedom and against tyranny with the allied forces. I also hope it lifts a veil for the families of those who have already died. They can be proud of their relatives contribution in the fight for freedom and commemorate the sacrifices they made as we look to the commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the commencement of the Great War and the 75th anniversary of World War II, in 2014, and the remembrance of all those who served and who died in these conflicts."

The Bill, if enacted, will provide for the granting of an amnesty and apology to those members of the Defence Forces who served with forces fighting on the Allied side
during World War II and who were subsequently found guilty by a military tribunal or who were dismissed from the Defence Forces pursuant to the provisions of the Emergency Powers (No. 362) Order 1945. In addition, it will also provide an immunity from prosecution, to those who were, or who still are, liable to be prosecuted for, desertion or being absent without leave.

It is the Ministers intention to have the Bill enacted early in the new year

ENDS



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