Updated 23 hours ago
PLANS ARE UNDERWAY for the Taoiseach to meet with Northern Ireland’s First Minister to discuss claims of the Irish state’s alleged 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.
A spokesperson for the government confirmed to TheJournal.ie that Taoiseach Micheál Martin would meet with Foster to discuss issues she raised in a letter.
In a letter seen by the PA news agency, Foster asked 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.
Speaking this afternoon, Martin said that he had “agreed to meet and discuss the specific issues that the First Minister has raised”.
“The Irish Government has stepped up to the plate in relation to these issues. We initiated the Smithwick Inquiry into alleged collusion involving An Garda Siochana in relation to the murders of members of the RUC,” Martin said.
“The British Government did not follow through with the Finucane inquiry and in our view they should have. It was agreed between Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern at the time at Weston Park,” he said.
“We are always open to uncovering the true stories and we have nothing to hide as the Irish Government.
“I believe people who lost loved ones in unacceptable circumstances deserve all the answers they can possibly get in relation to atrocities carried out by the Provisional IRA or others as well and by State security services.”
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.
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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.
Additional reporting from Lauren Boland and the Press Association