Micheál Martin says there will be ‘no hiding place for anyone involved in collusion’ during the Troubles
29th August 2021
Micheál Martin has told Democratic Unionist leader Jeffrey Donaldson there is “no hiding place for anyone involved in collusion” in the Republic of Ireland during the Troubles.
In a meeting with Mr Donaldson last week, the Taoiseach said he would consider “setting up the necessary processes” to investigate alleged collusion between the State and the IRA.
A source close to Mr Donaldson said it was important the Government understood during the discussion in Dublin that Unionists “are opposed to drawing a line under the past”.
“Dublin is not a spectator in all of this; there are a number of cases in the South where there was collusion during the Troubles between the State, namely gardaí, and the IRA. Micheál Martin recognised that during the meeting,” said the DUP source.
The Lagan Valley MP also warned Mr Martin that unionists “cannot be expected to work as normal” with Ireland when Northern Ireland’s relationship with the rest of the UK is “being harmed on a daily basis” by the controversial protocol.
Meanwhile, Mr Donaldson is said to be in “reflective mode” this weekend after a new poll saw support for his party drop to 13pc, after being overtaken by both the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and the Traditional Unionist Voice.
A LucidTalk poll for the Belfast Telegraph yesterday saw the Democratic Unionists’ support drop by three points, making it Northern Ireland’s fourth most popular party, tied with the Alliance Party and the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP).
Sinn Féin has held firm as the most popular party on 25pc, followed by the UUP on 16pc, up two points.
“This is no big surprise. There have been difficulties within the party internally and a very unsettled period. But Jeffrey is a seasoned politician and will bounce back from this,” said a source.
“No doubt there will be members who will be unhappy, but Jeffrey knows he needs to settle the ship and go back into battle ahead of next year’s Assembly election.”
It is the first time in more than 20 years that the UUP has been unionism’s leading party.
Jim Allister’s Traditional Unionist Voice saw big gains, rising by 3pc to make it the third most popular party on 14pc.
But the decline of the DUP continues, with the party dropping three points since the last poll was taken in May. Support for the DUP has more than halved in three years, having stood at 31pc at the 2019 Westminster election.
After making steady gains in recent polls, support for the Alliance Party has dropped 3pc to 13pc — having been tied as the second most popular party with the DUP in May.
Support for the Green Party is on 2pc, People Before Profit is also on 2pc, and another 2pc opted for “others”.
Yesterday, when asked if the party had concerns about the poll results, a source close to Mr Donaldson said: “The poll that matters is the poll next year.”