Eamon Gilmore’s statement that the Irish government is prepared to listen to unionist concerns about its conduct during the Troubles comes after years of pressure.
First Minister David Trimble asked Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in 2001 to hold an inquiry into the Irish government’s alleged role in the creation of the PIRA, which was refused.
The DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson said that at the St Andrews talks in 2006 the Irish government accepted that “any questions dealing with the past would not be exclusive to Northern Ireland”.
He previously told the News Letter there would be no settlement on the past without Dublin.
In September 2012, after lobbying for around a year, UUP MLA Danny Kennedy was granted a “disappointing” historical meeting for south Armagh IRA victims, including Willie Frazer, with Taoiseach Enda Kenny. They unsuccessfully pressed for an apology from him for state failings.
A month later Fermanagh IRA victims said they were “satisfied” with their first meeting with the Taoiseach, led by DUP MLA Arlene Foster and IVU spokesman Kenny Donaldson.
They saw the meeting as part of a process towards an apology.
Nine IRA victims met Mr Kenny and told emotional stories about what they described as the “ethnic cleansing” of their loved ones from along the border.