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Stormont to debate motion calling for Irish apology for Troubles

The DUP has tabled a motion asking Dublin to apologise for its potential involvement in events such as the killing of RUC officers.

MLAs will debate asking Ireland for a formal apology for the Troubles at Stormont (pictured) today.
MLAs will debate asking Ireland for a formal apology for the Troubles at Stormont (pictured) today.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive

THE NORTHERN ASSEMBLY will today debate a motion calling on the Irish government to apologise for the country’s role in sparking the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

A motion tabled by the Democratic Unionist Party, if passed, would see MLAs at Stormont call on Dublin to apologise for “the lack of support for the investigation of terrorist suspects”, with particular reference to the ongoing Smithwick Tribunal, which is is investigating alleged collusion in the murder of two RUC officers in 1989.

It has been alleged that Gardaí who were holding a meeting with the RUC officers, Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Robert Buchanan, in Co Louth had colluded with paramilitaries by informing them of the RUC officers’ whereabouts.

The motion being debated by MLAs says relations between the Republic and the North “would improve further if the current Government of the Republic of Ireland were to address the role played by the Irish Government of the day in the emergence of the Provisional IRA and the roles of past Governments regarding the pursuit of terrorists”.

It calls on “the Prime Minister for the Republic of Ireland” to issue an apology for the State’s role in this.

Speaking ahead of the debate, DUP MP Gregory Campbell said an apology from the Irish State would go some way to helping to improve the working relationship and co-operation between the governments on either side of the border.

“Undoubtedly events such as the recent visit of Her Majesty the Queen to the Republic have helped cement the kind of normal working relationship and co-operation which can take place when necessary across the border,” he said, before adding:

This does not mean however that we forget about the role played by the Irish Republic in the past, and this has been highlighted recently through the

Smithwick Tribunal. We are all too aware of just how few people were ever extradited from the Republic of Ireland to face terrorist charges and the Smithwick Tribunal has once again reminded people of how republican terrorists were able to view the Irish Republic as a safe haven.

Campbell also said the Irish State had never apologised for its assistance in “establishing and financing the Provisional IRA”, and pointed out that the British government had previously apologised “for events that occurred as a result of ongoing IRA activities and to which the Army had to respond.”

Enda Kenny last week described the IRA has the “common enemy of all of the people of Ireland, of all traditions, North and South, and that their campaign of violence was strongly resisted by successive Irish governments.”

He was speaking after meeting the families of the victims of the Kingsmill Massacre, in which 10 Protestants were killed by the Provisional IRA.

Poll: Should Dublin apologise for its role in the Troubles?

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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