Dublin silent on its ‘national security veto’

Enda Kenny (right) with Kingsmills survivor Alan Black
Enda Kenny (right) with Kingsmills survivor Alan Black

The Irish prime minister has declined to say why he failed to fulfil promises to make key security information available to a Troubles legacy inquest – or whether he intends to do so.

Enda Kenny was responding to the News Letter after critics said the Irish government is now operating the same national security veto on Troubles security archives that it accuses the UK of operating.

In 2015 Mr Kenny told the relatives of those killed in the Kingsmills massacre that he would not release sensitive files on the atrocity to a Belfast legacy inquest but would instead invite the Belfast coroner to Dublin to inspect them.

Four of the Kingsmills weapons were recovered in the south and the top three suspects served time there.

However, the News Letter discovered last month that despite the fact that the inquest opened over six months ago, the coroner’s office was still unaware of Mr Kenny’s offer.

The taoiseach failed to comment on the promise before Christmas, so the News Letter approached him again last week to ask why he had not made the offer to the Belfast coroner and if he would now do so. His office has now commented – but did not address our questions.

A spokesman said Dublin identified a legal method in June for Garda to transmit material to the inquest and have made transfers in accordance with the law.

“The Garda co-operation with the Northern Ireland coroner is part of a continuing legal process and they continue to work with the coroner on an ongoing basis to support the inquest,” he added.

But DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson described the comments as “most disappointing” and said it was evident that Dublin has “so far failed to provide full disclosure to the coroner of the documents they hold”.

He added: “Enda Kenny promised that he would ensure there was full disclosure and this has not happened, whilst the Irish government has consistently criticised the UK Government over the same issue.”

He will be raising the issue in Parliament on Tuesday, he added.

UUP MLA Danny Kennedy responded that it is “incumbent” on the taoiseach to fulfil the promises he made directly to the families.

“Not to do so would be a huge dereliction of duty and a massive personal breach of trust by Enda Kenny. He must act immediately to address this issue,” he added.