Fine Gael demands that British come clean over loyalist attacks

FINE GAEL leader Enda Kenny last night demanded the British come clean over loyalist bomb attacks in the Republic following revelations of widespread police collusion with paramilitaries in the North.

Mr Kenny urged Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to press London to finally co-operate with the Barron inquiry into the Dublin-Monaghan bombings which left 34 dead in the wake of police ombudsman Nuala O’Loan’s “shocking” probe.

“Given the report’s findings of RUC complicity in at least 10 murders by just one UVF gang alone, one can wonder what other unacceptable practices remain hidden from the public.

“These findings also call into serious question the failure of the British Government to cooperate with the Barron Inquiry which has been investigating a large number of earlier allegations of collusion in murderers perpetrated in this State,” he said.

The Taoiseach said the report was “deeply disturbing” and pledged to raise it with London.

“Its findings are of the utmost gravity. It paints a picture of despicable past behaviour,” he said.

“It presents clear evidence that the RUC colluded with Loyalist murderers and failed in their duty to prevent many horrific crimes.”

Tánaiste and Justice Minister Michael McDowell said collusion went on between the British and paramilitaries as part of a “dirty war” which probably included the Dublin-Monaghan attacks.

“I had always been on the view that, on the balance of probabilities, things such as the Dublin-Monaghan bombings, did indicate a significant level of collusion at a low level between persons in the security forces in Northern Ireland and certain loyalist bodies. The O’Loan report refers to the RUC as it was then in the middle of a dirty war,” he said as he indicated he believed prosecutions would follow the O’Loan investigation.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said he did not know what effect the O’Loan probe would have on the party’s special árd fheis this weekend which is to consider embracing civil policing.

SF’s chief negotiator Martin McGuinness insisted the report revealed the level of “state terrorism” which had been targeted at both communities.

“It raises the question about how many more areas were affected, and how many more people were murdered by elements effectively within the RUC and British intelligence.”

The Taoiseach said “shattered lives” lay behind the O’Loan investigation as he urged Sinn Féin to back the framework for policing that is now set-up in the North.

“Behind this report lie many personal stories of lives lost and lives shattered. I wish to express my sympathy to the families of the victims at this distressing time. Inclusive support by all for reformed policing in Northern Ireland has to be the way of the future. I hope that such inclusive support for policing can become a reality following the Sinn Féin Árd Fheis next weekend,” he said.

Labour leader Pat Rabbitte said the report, while “shocking”, vindicated the changes in the way the police service is now run in the North.

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