The North’s First Minister has tonight called on the Irish Government to apologise for its role in the emergence of the IRA in the 1970s.
The Dublin administration never officially supported the violent tactics of the Provisional IRA, but unionists accuse it of failing to crack down on the group’s activity in Ireland.
Democratic Unionist leader Peter Robinson said: “There is a clear connection between what the IRA did in its infancy and the Government of the Irish Republic.
He said: “I think the Irish Republic would do well to look at its role and recognise that it was not the way it should have behaved in those days, and apologise for it because massive death and destruction followed.”
The 1998 peace agreement helped produce the disbandment of the IRA and a power-sharing government after a conflict that killed around 3,600 people, many IRA victims.
The DUP is expected to put forward a motion in the North’s regional administration on Monday to ask for an apology from the Irish Government.
Mr Robinson, whose party shares power with Sinn Féin, made his call on the BBC after relatives of an infamous IRA attack in South Armagh asked Taoiseach Enda Kenny to apologise for not doing more to solve the crime.
Relatives of 10 Protestant textile workers killed in 1976 near the village of Kingsmills met Mr Kenny on Thursday.
Mr Kenny said he told the victims’ relatives that the IRA were the common enemy of all of the people of Ireland and promised to reflect carefully on what they had told him.