NI First Minister calls for ‘fresh examination’ into claims of Irish state’s collusion in IRA murders
DUP LEADER ARLENE Foster has asked the Taoiseach for a “fresh examination” of allegations of collusion between Irish government authorities and the IRA in a number of killings.© Liam McBurney PA Images First Minister Arlene Foster
In a letter seen by the PA news agency, Foster asked Micheál Martin for a meeting over several Troubles-era killings where collusion between gardaí and the IRA has been found or alleged.
The letter calls for the Irish government to “urgently assist” into what are described as unanswered questions in the state’s role with Republican paramilitaries.
It references the Smithwick Tribunal, which in 2013 found that gardaí leaked information to the IRA on the movements of two Royal Ulster Constabulary officers.
Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan were murdered in 1989 as they crossed the border following a meeting at a garda station in Dundalk.
Foster said that while the tribunal reported in December 2013, she claimed no further action has been taken.
The letter also cites other IRA attacks, including the 1976 Kingsmill massacre, in which ten Protestant workmen were killed.
“Despite having met with the Foreign Minister Simon Coveney TD, representing the previous Irish Government, nothing has been forthcoming in relation to this matter,” Foster wrote.
The North’s First Minister also references the 1987 murders of judge Sir Maurice Gibson and his wife, the 1991 murder of Ian Sproule, and the Narrow Water Massacre, which was the subject of a controversial tweet by Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley last weekend.
She thanked the Taoiseach for condemning Stanley’s tweet, saying she received letters from “innocent victims” about it and the publicity surrounding the UK’s decision not to hold an immediate inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane.
Foster referenced remarks by Coveney calling for a “recognition [for victims] on the basis of truth” in relation to the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.
“I absolutely agree and I believe strongly that if your Government wants to play its role in getting to the truth and thereby assisting reconciliation, then it should seek to urgently assist in the above cases and supply the necessary documentation, as well as examining the recommendations of, and the new evidence that came to light in, the Smithwick Tribunal,” the letter reads.
“There are many unanswered questions regarding the role of the Irish state in arming and assisting the IRA in its campaign of terror during “the Troubles” and there can be no doubt that all these matters need a fresh examination if we are all to get to the truth of what happened in our shared past.”
The letter concludes with a request by Foster to discuss the issues raised with the Taoiseach in the near future, as well as other killings where there are claims of collusion.
With reporting from Press Association.