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Taoiseach to meet Foster over IRA collusion claims

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Micheál Martin wil meet Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster to discuss the issues she raised. Photo: David Young/ PA Wire

Micheál Martin wil meet Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster to discuss the issues she raised. Photo: David Young/ PA Wire

Micheál Martin wil meet Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster to discuss the issues she raised. Photo: David Young/ PA Wire

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said he plans to meet Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster to personally discuss issues she has raised about alleged Garda collusion with Republican paramilitaries.

Mr Martin, speaking in Cork last night, confirmed the meeting will take place after Mrs Foster called for a fresh examination of allegations that some garda members may have provided information to paramilitaries planning attacks on RUC personnel.

She specifically referred to the Smithwick Inquiry, which found that gardaí leaked information to the IRA about two RUC officers.

Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan were murdered in 1989 as they crossed the border following a meeting at Dundalk garda station.

Mrs Foster said that while the tribunal reported in December 2013, she claimed no further action has been taken. Mr Martin said he will now personally discuss the matter with Mrs Foster.

"My office has been in touch with the office of the First Minister and we’ve agreed to meet and to discuss the specific issues that the First Minister has raised and the cases that the First Minister has raised in her correspondence with me," he said.

"The Irish Government has stepped up to the plate in relation to these issues, we initiated the Smithwick Inquiry in relation to alleged collusion involving the Garda Síochána in relation to the murder of members of the RUC.

"The British Government did not follow through in terms of the Finucane inquiry and in our view they should have, it was part of an agreement between Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern at the time at Weston Park," he added.

Mrs Foster told the Taoiseach there must be a “fresh examination” into allegations of collusion between Irish state authorities and the IRA.

The DUP leader urged Mr Martin to “urgently assist” in “getting to the truth” about what she described as unanswered questions in the state’s role with Republican paramilitaries.

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