Friday 19 January 2018

Findings 'will have implications for peace'

Daniel McConnell Political Correspondent

GARDA collusion with the IRA in the murder of two senior RUC men will have major implications for ongoing peace talks in Northern Ireland, it has been claimed.

Unionist politicians called on the Government in Dublin to acknowledge the role the Irish State played during the Troubles following the release of the Smithwick Report.

The DUP's Arlene Foster said the findings were damning.

She continued: "This (the report) must act as a catalyst for further movement towards acknowledgement by the Irish Government of the role played by Dublin in the formation of the IRA and how republican terrorists were able to operate across the Border with relative ease."

Ulster Unionist MLA Tom Elliott claimed that successive Irish governments had not done enough to stop the IRA, while TUV (Traditional Unionist Voice) leader Jim Allister called the findings of the tribunal a devastating exposure of garda complicity in IRA murder.

Democratic Unionist MP Jeffrey Donaldson expressed fears over the current Haass talks process, which is aimed at resolving Northern Ireland's ongoing difficult issues.

Theresa Villiers, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said she would raise the collusion scandal with the Irish Government.

She added: "An important point to remember is that levels of co-operation between An Garda Siochana and the PSNI are now at unprecedented levels and are playing a crucial part in combating terrorist attacks in Northern Ireland."

Northern Ireland's Justice Minister David Ford said a rogue officer acting outside the law should not result in the loss of trust between the PSNI and An Garda Siochana.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan welcomed the report of the Smithwick Tribunal. He said the report "will now need to be carefully examined by the Garda Commissioner and his senior officers and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage".

Justice Minister Alan Shatter apologised to the families of Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan "without reservation for any failings identified in the report on the part of the State or any of its agencies".

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said he was "appalled and saddened" by the finding of collusion and described it as a matter of grave public concern.

Irish Independent

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