Northern Ireland’s prime minister has told the Taoiseach that the government must “urgently” assist in investigating allegations of collusion between the Irish state authorities and the IRA in a number of massacres.
In a letter to Micheál Martin, Arlene Foster said that “there are many unanswered questions about the role of the Irish state in arming and assisting the IRA in its campaign of terror during ‘the Troubles'”.
The DUP leader calls for a meeting to discuss the matter and lists a number of incidents alleging collusion between Gardaí and the IRA.
The letter, seen by RTÉ News and the Sunday Independent, also cites the Smithwick Tribunal as having discovered collusion in the murders of two RUC officers in south Armagh in March 1989.
Chief superintendent Harry Breen and superintendent Bob Buchanan were killed in an IRA ambush on their way back to Belfast after a meeting at Dundalk Garda station.
“The tribunal reported in December 2013, but no further action has been taken to date,” the letter said.
Ms Foster refers to the collusion issue that came to the fore last week when the UK government rejected new calls to open a public inquiry into the murder of lawyer Pat Finucane in Belfast.
“With this in mind, I wanted to outline some of the issues that are the responsibility of your administration and that your government can help with,” she says.
Ms Foster refers to the families of the 10 Protestant civilians murdered by the IRA in Kingsmills, south Armagh, in January 1976, who have repeatedly requested the Irish government to provide documents to aid in their quest for justice.
Despite a meeting with Secretary of State Simon Coveney TD, who represented the previous Irish government, nothing has been disclosed on this issue, ”she said.
The letter also refers to the IRA’s murder of Ian Sproule outside his Castlederg home in Co Tyrone in 1991.
In an attempt to justify the murder, the IRA later revealed Garda intelligence to a journalist who claimed he had been involved in a loyalist paramilitary attack in Co Donegal.
The murder of Supreme Court Judge Maurice Gibson of Northern Ireland and his wife Lade Cecily in a bombing in South Armagh in April 1987 are also highlighted.
They were on their way home from Dublin Airport after returning from a vacation in the US when a car bomb exploded as their vehicle passed.
Three Irish international rugby players who traveled in the opposite direction on their way to training in Dublin were injured in the bombing.
The driver, Ulster Rugby captain Davy Irwin, pulled teammates Nigel Carr and Philip Rainey from the wreckage. Carr’s injuries prevented him from playing at the World Cup in New Zealand that year.
The DUP leader also mentions the Narrow Water Massacre, when 18 members of the British Parachute Regiment were killed in a double IRA bombing just outside Warrenpoint in August 1979.
The Prime Minister thanks the Taoiseach for “swiftly condemning” the tweet by Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley last week about that attack, which she describes as “disgraceful” and says it “caused very significant insult in Northern Ireland”.
Her letter quotes a comment by Secretary of State Simon Coveney in an interview with BBC Radio Ulster last month when he said, “There must be real recognition (for victims) based on the truth”.
It adds: “ I absolutely agree and strongly believe that if your government is to play its part in the truth-finding out and therefore the reconciliation, it must urgently try to help in the above cases and provide the necessary documentation, as well as examine the recommendations of, and new evidence that has come to light, the Smithwick Tribunal.
“There are many unanswered questions about the role of the Irish state in arming and assisting the IRA in its campaign of terror during ‘the Troubles’ and there is no doubt that all of these will need a new investigation if we are all to come. truth of what happened in our shared past. “
Arlene Foster states that “there are other horrible murders” where there are allegations of collusion, and says she would like to discuss matters with the Taoiseach in the near future.