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Unionists welcome Irish PM’s apology after Smithwick

The scene after the shooting of RUC officers Bob Buchanan and Harry Breen.

The scene after the shooting of RUC officers Bob Buchanan and Harry Breen.

The Dublin government’s apology in the wake of the Smithwick Tribunal findings has been given a qualified welcome by some unionists north of the border.

Following the publication of the report last week, Taoiseach Enda Kenny called the conclusions “shocking” and said: “I am horrified that any member of the Garda Siochana would be involved in colluding with the IRA.”

Mr Kenny said the report required serious consideration, adding: “That is what I’ll be doing in the next few weeks.”

Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kennedy said the swift apology was welcome, but “should be only a first step in seeking to establish how deep and how high up the chain of command that collusion ran. Otherwise, this is not enough.”

He added: “One set of murders has been investigated, and collusion has 
been established.

“Many more murders – some 160 – in that area were of a cross-border nature, including those of countless members of the security forces and private citizens like those who were caught up and cruelly murdered in Kingsmills and other incidents. We need to know more about that.”

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said he accepted the report’s findings.

“It is intensely disappointing as Commissioner of An Garda Siochana to learn that, on balance of probability, the tribunal has found that people in my organisation betrayed us,” he said.

Jim Allister of the TUV said the Irish government had a poor track record on terrorism, claiming it “spawned and armed” the Provisional IRA.

“I think that there is much yet to be apologised for by the Republic of Ireland,” Mr Allister added.

 

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