First Minister writes letter to An Taoiseach about Irish state collusion during The Troubles

THE leader of the DUP, and First Minister, Arlene Foster, has written to An Taoiseach, , about the findings of collusion by the Irish State during The Troubles.

The First Minister sent a letter to Mr. Martin last week in the wake of a tweet by a Sinn Féin TD, Brian Stanley, about the Narrow Water atrocity in 1979, and the decision by the UK government not to hold a public inquiry into the murder of human rights lawyer, Pat Finucane, in 1989.

In the letter, Mrs. Foster said: “In recent days, the issue of collusion has been highlighted in the public domain and it is with this in mind that I wanted to set out some issues that are the responsibility of your administration, and with which your government can assist.

“As you know, there have been findings of collusion against the Irish state, most recently in the Smithwick Tribunal into the murders of Ch. Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan.

“The tribunal reported in December, 2013, but, to date, no further action has been taken.

“You will also be aware that the Kingsmill families have been searching for justice over many decades in respect of what happened to their loved ones, and they have requested any documents held by the Irish state which would assist in that search for justice.

“Despite having met with the Foreign Minister, Simon Coveney TD, representing the previous Irish government, nothing has been forthcoming in relation to this matter.

“The family of the late Ian Sproule, who was murdered by an IRA gang in 1991 outside his home in Castlederg, Co. Tyrone, have also sought assistance, which has thus far been denied.

“The IRA, after claiming responsibility for Ian’s murder, sought to justify his murder by claiming they used Garda intelligence which, the IRA said, indicated Mr. Sproule was involved with Loyalist paramilitaries.

“Again, Simon Coveney has met with Ian’s brother, John, but nothing further has happened more than a year later.”

The DUP leader said that if the Irish government wanted to play a role in “getting to the truth and thereby assisting reconciliation”, then it should seek to assist in the cases mentioned, supplying the necessary documentation, as well as examining the recommendations of, and the new evidence that came to light in, the Smithwick Tribunal.

Mrs. Foster added: “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 First Minister asked to meet with An Taoiseach, and Mr. Martin said last week that he would meet the DUP leader to discuss the matters raised in her letter.

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