1001. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if adequate resources will be provided for the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains in view of the important and sensitive work of this commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34476/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' remains was established in 1999 by the Irish and British Governments as one element of the suite of initiatives taken by them in the context of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. The purpose of the Commission, as the Deputy is aware, is to facilitate the recovery, and return to their families, of the remains of persons killed by paramilitaries during the conflict in Northern Ireland and buried secretly – these victims are known as "the Disappeared". The Commission is completely independent in its functions and its mission is humanitarian in its objectives. It has always enjoyed cross-party and cross-community support. I am aware that Deputy Smith and others in this House have had a long standing interest in the work of the Commission.
I can assure the Deputy and, indeed, the families of the Disappeared that the Commission's investigation team has and will continue to have the necessary support and resources to carry out their work. However, it is information that is crucial to the Commission’s success. The receipt of information is the Commission's greatest asset and the pursuit of information remains the greatest challenge. It is now over forty years since the last three victims disappeared and the passage of time creates obvious difficulties for accessing relevant information.
I appeal to anybody with information which may help to locate the remains of any of the victims to provide it, in confidence, to the Commission using the freephone number or PO Box address which are detailed on the ICLVR webpage. All information provided to the Commission is treated as strictly confidential and by law it shall only be used to locate and identify the remains.
I can assure the families of my and the Government's continued full support for this ongoing humanitarian work.