Northern Ireland Assembly
Tuesday 30 January 2001 (continued)
For security reasons I will not give information about the source, especially as it concerns the Royal Victoria Hospital. We are all well aware of what happened to my Colleague Mr Dodds and his children while in the Royal Victoria Hospital.
I will return to what I said about the filth in the Royal Victoria Hospital - I would say the same about other hospitals across the country if they were in a similar situation. Only last week a nurse informed me that a patient had vomited on the hospital corridor and that the vomit lay there until it was caked into the floor. I am not blaming the nurses or the medical staff, for I know they are under extreme pressure, but more must be done to deal with this problem. Those matters must be addressed and taken up with the Royal Victoria Hospital.
Once again, Mr Kieran McCarthy talked about the Nationalist/Unionist agenda and the arguments that were put forward. I spoke about that earlier and about the representation that was on the Committee at that time. Ms McWilliams said that decisions must be made as soon as possible. I agree, as, I am sure, do the majority of Members. Low morale is a great problem in both hospitals at present, and that must also be addressed. There are great pressures on the staff.
Joan Carson talked about the treatment of the Health Committee at the time the decision was made. I again state that the majority of the members of the Health Committee felt betrayed by the Department when the decision was made.
I have not heard the Minister say anything beneficial to this debate today. Her decision was bad for mothers and was bad clinically. The Minister is still unable to furnish a single rational, coherent and intelligent clinical argument in favour of her decision. It was bad politically, as the Health Committee and the Assembly voted for the Jubilee to remain open and for the maternity services to remain at the Belfast City Hospital. It was bad legally, because the High Court challenge on the Minister's decision, which rightly followed, demonstrated again that it was a flawed decision.
We have one firm conclusion today, and I will state it again. The Jubilee should never have been closed. The Assembly needs to take every step to regain control of the situation. This is a very important situation and it is not a political situation in the way it has been accused of being today. I tabled the motion today for the well-being of all mothers across the country, and I trust that every Member will support it.
Question put and agreed to.
That this Assembly calls on the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to give due weight to the determination of both the Health, Social Services and Public Safety Committee and the Northern Ireland Assembly on maternity service provision in Belfast in light of the decision of 29 November 2000 of the High Court.
I beg to move
That this Assembly calls on the Secretary of State to make representations to the Government of the Republic of Ireland to conduct a public inquiry into suspected collusion between members of the Garda Síochána and the Irish Republican Army in the planning and execution of acts of terrorism.
I am grateful for and welcome the opportunity to raise this important topic. It is timely and important. May I say at the outset that I reject the amendment in the names of Mr Alban Maginness and Mr Attwood, who apparently are happy with internal inquiries. I do not believe that those inquiries would satisfy public confidence. An internal inquiry would be open to allegations of a political whitewash and, therefore, it is unacceptable.
(Madam Deputy Speaker [Ms Morrice] in the Chair)
It is important to look at the historical background to the motion. Over many years, serious allegations have been made that members of the Garda Síochána have actively colluded with Republicans, particularly Republicans in the Provisional IRA. Evidence of that is emerging from books by respected journalists, Northern Ireland authors and individuals living in areas in which incidents such as the murder of RUC officers - many high-ranking - and the attempted murder of RUC, RIR and UDR officers have occurred. There has also been the murder and attempted murder of officials of the Northern Ireland judiciary system and private individuals. Those collusion allegations will not go away until they are properly dealt with.
I do not want to individualise cases. That would be improper given the heartfelt cases involved, and it would rekindle the pain felt by many families. I am not interested in politicising items of this nature. Those events have taken place, and they must be investigated.
It is clear that incidents of this nature could not have taken place without the involvement of Garda Síochána officers at some time. There is very clear evidence that garda stations in the north County Louth area and their operational material were used to pinpoint the movements of RUC officers, security personnel, officials of the Northern Ireland judiciary system and individuals, which ultimately led to their murder.
It is important to state the necessity to hold an inquiry into the activities of rogue garda officers who have stained the reputation of that force. I am not making a call for the abolition of the Garda Síochána. I want to place on record that I recognise the attempts made by garda officers at local level to help and assist the RUC and the security forces with murder inquiries and other investigations and incidents. Had it not been for political interference by Government people in Dublin, there might have been more success over the years in getting information on many of these incidents. I know from personal experience about the willingness of garda officers and their dedicated attempts to eradicate IRA terrorism in the border area. Those attempts failed to get proper political support from the Governments of the day. Successive Dublin Governments and Irish politicians, at the very highest level, have much to answer for. With the recent release of cabinet papers in relation to the arms trial, we saw that very prominent senior politicians in the Republic had been involved in the establishment, arming and funding of the Provisional IRA. Arms were procured, and Republicans were made ready to wage war on the Unionist people of Northern Ireland.
We might usefully ask for an independent inquiry into that disgraceful chapter of Irish history. Of course, I, amongst others, remain completely astonished at the hypocrisy of the Irish Government and Irish Government Ministers in their unending demands for public inquiries into events that have taken place in Northern Ireland. I think they should clean their own barrel out in relation to events of this nature instead of insisting and ordering public inquiries into the affairs of another jurisdiction - this part of the United Kingdom.
It is clear that internal inquiries conducted by garda officers, who would, after all, be investigating their colleagues, will not satisfy public opinion, especially in Northern Ireland, particularly in the border areas. Therefore, I believe that this Assembly should call for a full-scale, independent and international commission to investigate these matters on an open, impartial and transparent basis. Let us have the truth - warts and all.
It appears that corruption is almost a way of life in the Irish Republic, certainly within the political class, with senior politicians constantly being investigated for unlawful and illegal actions. We have witnessed tribunals investigating irregularities in respect of land and property deals, beef and all manner of illegal behaviour by politicians there, yet they have the effrontery to lecture us on standards of policing here.
Allegations have been made - many of them by a very well-known and respected author, Mr Toby Harnden, in his recent book 'Bandit Country'. They have not been dealt with, and I think they warrant a full and impartial investigation. In view of the importance of this matter, such an investigation should be undertaken by a panel of international law experts, either from Northern Ireland or from other parts of the United Kingdom - perhaps even someone from North America. If it can be proved that there was collusion, as I believe it undoubtedly will be, then prosecution must follow. Let the Republic of Ireland authorities prove that they will not stand for illegal behaviour on the part of their security forces. Let them prove that there is no hiding place for murderers, especially those motivated by sectarian hatred.
I believe that unless and until there is such an inquiry, it is not, and will not be, possible for the very open wounds suffered by Northern Ireland's people - particularly those who live in the border areas who are pro-Union and who have felt most keenly the murder campaign directed against them from people in the north Louth area and other parts of the Irish Republic, helped in some way by rogue garda officers - to heal. They will never be able to have a proper relationship with the Irish Republic or to trust the Irish Republic and its authorities.
I look forward to a healthy and constructive debate. I will be interested to hear the reasoning behind the SDLP amendment, which essentially calls for an internal inquiry. I contrast that with their recent demands on aspects of policing in Northern Ireland. I will also be interested to see what, if any, response comes from the Members who represent active Republicans.
Mr A Maginness:
I beg to move the following amendment: Delete all after "Assembly" and add
"notes the current investigation into allegations made against certain Garda Síochána officers and that a report arising from the investigation is to be submitted to the Irish Government in the near future."
I was disappointed by Mr Kennedy's opening speech. I had expected much more detail on the allegations forming the basis of the motion. In fact, the motion itself is vague. There are no details or dates given, and the nature of the allegation has not been specified beyond simple collusion. It is fair to say that, while he has made sweeping allegations, he has been very short on detail. That is disappointing, because one would have hoped that Mr Kennedy would provide details for some of the arguments he put forward. Furthermore, he called for an international public inquiry. That is absent from the substantive motion. He said that he finds the present garda investigation to be unsatisfactory and he is critical of internal investigations, as, indeed, the SDLP would be. I support his view that they fall short.
Nonetheless, let us look at the totality of the situation and attempt a reasoned debate based on that. The SDLP's position is quite clear. In no way does it condone any cover-ups, nor would it be party to them. It wants to see the truth exposed and it wants to see those who are guilty of any crimes of collusion or co-operation with terrorist organisations brought before the courts, convicted and sentenced. The SDLP has nothing to hide, and it supports the most rigorous examination of collusion. It has always been committed to human rights and non-violence, and it views any collusion by any police force anywhere - including the Garda Síochána - with abhorrence. It regards any collusion as monstrous, deplorable and quite unacceptable.
In the past, it has been alleged of two garda officers that they colluded in some way with the Provisional IRA in the murder of judicial figures, their families, at least two senior RUC officers and some other serving members of the RUC.
This forms the basis, the kernel and the very centre of the present motion. These allegations have been brought to the attention of the Irish Government and, in particular, to the attention of the present Minister for Justice, Mr O'Donoghue. It is a matter of public record, particularly inside Dáil Éireann, that he views these allegations with deep concern. His attitude has not been one of dismissal or of cover-up. There has been an intensive investigation by the Garda Sióchána.
I might add that that investigation involved not only the garda but the RUC. The RUC investigated allegations made in respect of incidents that took place in Northern Ireland, and the Garda Síochána investigated those which took place in the jurisdiction of the Republic. Those allegations related to incidents that occurred in the 1980s and the 1990s. The two police forces, therefore, co-operated closely on the investigations.
As a result of those investigations there was no - I use the term advisedly, and it was used by the Minister - tangible evidence uncovered to show that information was passed by a garda informant, or informants, to the Provisional IRA.
Subsequent to that internal investigation by the Garda Síochána, similar, or the same, allegations emerged. Once again, these were raised in Dáil Éireann and, once again, the Minister for Justice viewed them with deep concern and dealt with them very seriously indeed. As a result of representations made inside and outside the Irish Parliament, he ordered fresh investigations into the allegations. He regarded them as raising issues of the utmost seriousness. He said that their repetition in the media caused understandable concern, North and South, and he was committed to finding the truth in relation to them. He said - and repeated - that, even though there was no tangible evidence to substantiate the re-emergence of these allegations, every effort must be made to assure, and to reassure, the public, both North and South, that they had been thoroughly investigated. The Garda Commissioner was therefore asked to appoint a senior officer to examine the files and to further investigate the allegations. That appointment was made.
We should await the result of that investigation from the Garda Síochána before calling for what is central to this motion today - a public inquiry into those allegations.
My party and I hope that the investigation will be successful in establishing either that there is nothing to the allegations or that there is substance to them. If there has been collusion between members of the gardaí and the Provisional IRA, we hope that evidence sufficient to bring to prosecution those people who committed such offences - and offences they are - can be established and that those people will be brought to court and prosecuted for their crimes. That is my hope in relation to that investigation, and I hope that, ultimately, it will be successful.
If the investigation does not unearth sufficient evidence to establish the basis for a prosecution, yet does establish that there was an element of collusion that needs to be properly and further investigated, then at that stage we should consider taking the course of action contained in the motion. We should consider the establishment of a public inquiry to examine at those allegations.
That position will be reached when there is at least prima facie evidence to indicate that some collusion took place in the 1980s and 1990s. The SDLP's present position is that, in the absence of tangible evidence of collusion between the gardaí and the Provisional IRA, it is premature to call for a public inquiry. We are therefore not in a position to recommend one.
Madam Deputy Speaker:
Will the Member bring his remarks to a close?
Mr A Maginness:
We have brought forward this reasoned amendment, which does not rule out an inquiry in the future. It does say that we should wait for the gardaí's report and the result of the reinvestigation before calling for a full public inquiry.
Madam Deputy Speaker:
Before we move on, I remind Members of Standing Order 68, which refers to matters that are sub judice, and in particular paragraph 68(6). I will rule out of order any reference to specific incidents or individuals. The category of incidents that Mr Maginness gave is acceptable. I will judge each point as it arises.
Having considered the number of Members wishing to speak, I ask Members to restrict their remarks to no more than five minutes each.
Mr Ian Paisley Jnr:
I congratulate Mr Kennedy for tabling this motion. It is right and proper that he call on the Secretary of State to insist that the Irish Government conduct an independent public inquiry into the murder of individuals and into the allegations of collusion between the Garda Síochána and the Provisional IRA.
If we want to have justice issues in the Province and across the world addressed, someone has to drive the matter forward. All that Mr Kennedy's motion asks is that the Secretary of State take up the reins and press the Irish Government. That is perfectly right and proper.
What is appalling is the woeful statement from the SDLP to the effect that its amendment is reasoned. Reasoned amendment my foot, Madam Deputy Speaker. What we heard from the SDLP today was sanctimonious claptrap. Its amendment just about notes that the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening. It does nothing else. The amendment does not address the issue in any proper or scrupulous way. If that is what Mr Maginness calls an intensive investigation, I should hate to see what he would call a failed investigation. The SDLP has today washed its hands of the human rights of people who have been murdered and butchered on this island by the Provisional IRA. That is the action that the SDLP has taken.
Some time ago a journalist by the name of Kevin Myers wrote in 'The Irish Times', in the 'Irishman's Diary' column, words that today come back to haunt the SDLP, because they are right and probing: while
"Nationalist Ireland is happy to point accusingly at complicitywith-terrorism in the RUC, it is strangely silent when it comes to confronting similar betrayal of duty in the ranks of the Garda Síochána."
I was astounded by the SDLP's effectively moving a wrecking motion. It is sanctimonious claptrap for it to refuse to allow this motion to go forward and to attempt to wash its hands of it, taking inaction as opposed to action.
Toby Harnden has been mentioned, and I mentioned Kevin Myers, who wrote at length about well-placed moles within the Garda Síochána. He indicated that one individual betrayed sensitive security details to the IRA for 12 years so that it could murder members of the RUC, judges and families travelling to Northern Ireland.
I understand your ruling, Madam Deputy Speaker, and I will try to stick scrupulously to it.
The details of the mole are well documented. Essentially, he has acted with impunity since 1985. In May 1985 four officers were killed, one of whom was a 21-year-old woman named Tracy Doak. The extraordinary thing about this murder was that the Garda Síochána alone could have known about the movements of the RUC vehicle that day. Subsequently, there was no investigation or internal inquiry - there was nothing but public procrastination by the Garda Síochána.
Madam Deputy Speaker:
I warn the Member that he must be take great care to avoid prejudicing the outcome of any proceedings that might take place. He is sailing very close to the wind on this issue.
Mr Paisley Jnr:
The likelihood of any investigation taking place is a joke, but I understand your ruling.
The issue is this: for years this mole betrayed material to the IRA. There were 12 specific cases - the Doak case was one; the Justice Gibson case was another.
Madam Deputy Speaker:
Order. I have ruled that mention of specific cases will be out of order. You are out of order in mentioning these cases.
Mr Paisley Jnr:
Twelve cases - involving judges, families, a seven-year-old boy and a number of others - have been brought to the attention of the Irish judiciary and the Irish authorities. Their inaction and their engagement in cover-up instead of correction is a national scandal that has not been addressed. Today the SDLP is backing that failure to address these matters.
Madam Deputy Speaker:
Please draw your remarks to a close.
Mr Paisley Jnr:
It is a joke for the SDLP to come to the House today and speak about its commitment to human rights. The SDLP's commitment to human rights has been found desperately wanting in the House this afternoon.
Go raibh maith agat. I will make a few brief points. I do not want to detract from Mr Kennedy's reasons for moving the motion, but I will not be supporting it because it is a very narrow one. Mr Kennedy has presented absolutely no evidence to back up his arguments, other than the kind of dubious speculation to be found in certain cheap books and magazines. Nevertheless, I have no doubt that Mr Kennedy and other representatives have very serious concerns about what has happened in and around their constituencies. They have every right to raise these concerns.
My concern is that the proposed amendment is of no substance, for it does nothing but affirm that we note that an investigation is taking place. Over the years, quite a number of members of the Garda Síochána have not only been charged and convicted but served time in prison for passing on information. That is a matter of public record. My main concern about today's motion is that it does not go nearly far enough.
There has been clear and compelling evidence over the years - and in more recent times - in relation, for example, to the Dublin/Monaghan bombings, which obviously rank as one of the greatest tragedies on this island. Compelling evidence has been produced, and it suggests that, at the very minimum, there was at that time, and subsequently, collusion between senior members of the Garda Síochána, the RUC and Loyalist paramilitaries. We raised this matter with the new Secretary of State yesterday morning.
My only real point is that I would prefer it if we were dealing with a motion which called for a full, independent, international inquiry into all these allegations of collusion on this entire island which have involved Governments from both the Irish and the British sides of the border.
This cannot and must not be allowed to escape the public's attention. Therefore, I will not be supporting Mr Kennedy's motion. I respect his right to move the motion, but it is far too narrow. I would be more in favour of an opportunity to debate the whole range of allegations of collusion, which has caused untold damage and has taken the lives of untold numbers of people across this island. I would like to see an inquiry into these allegations.
I am sure every Member welcomes the interception by the Garda Síochána in County Cork of four suspected dissident Republicans with guns in their car. This incident highlights the continuing threat from dissident Republicans.
The motion illustrates Members' genuine concern about incidents in the past. Collusion on the parts of the security services with terrorists, and even suspected cases of such activity, north or south of the border, is a very serious matter.
There have been many calls over the years, and in recent times, for independent and international inquiries into the events of the troubles as a whole. But it must be remembered that there have been over 3,500 fatalities during the troubles, and many more thousands have been maimed for life, including civilians, police and Army personnel and even the Garda Síochána. We must ask ourselves where we draw the line.
It is vital that every victim of the troubles be remembered. It is important that truth and justice prevail, but we must also look to the future of Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland. Over the years the Government of the Republic of Ireland have lectured us in Northern Ireland on the subject of police accountability. I look forward to the day when the Assembly can debate the issue of police accountability in the Republic of Ireland. For many years Northern Ireland has had the Police Authority, which has provided substantial accountability when dealing with difficult issues in very difficult circumstances. While some groups have refused to take their seats on the board of the authority, the gardaí are simply accountable to the Republic of Ireland's Minister for Justice.
The Good Friday Agreement and the Patten Report have provided structures that will make the new police service even more accountable, particularly through the new police board. A new police ombudsman has also been appointed. The thrust of my argument is that there should be similar accountability in the Republic of Ireland. That is very pertinent to this debate. The bottom line is that if meaningful structures of accountability are in place, public inquiries, such as demanded today, would be superfluous.
I congratulate Mr Kennedy and those who have already supported the motion on how they have put forward the case for a public inquiry. I find Mr Maginness's comments absolutely reprehensible. He argued that Mr Kennedy had not been specific, when you, Madam Deputy Speaker, quite rightly ruled that the nature of the subject matter that we are discussing precludes specificity.
He also put forward - [Interruption]
Mr A Maginness:
Will the Member give way?
I will not give way.
In opposing the motion, Mr Maginess proposed such conditional requirements for investigations which, if applied to the RUC, would never result in an inquiry. At the same time, the SDLP proposed an amendment in the House of Commons to what is now the Police Act 1997. If that amendment had been incorporated into the Act, it would have given a police board, containing members of Sinn Féin/IRA, virtually unlimited scope for indefinite investigations and, therefore, an indefinite witch-hunt of the RUC that stood between decent citizens in Northern Ireland and the terrorists who would be on that police board for 30 years.
Without being able to be specific on these matters, I want to go on to consider the background relationship between the political, judicial and security establishments in the Republic. That relationship, as it developed over 30 years, renders the sort of collusion Mr Kennedy wants investigated not merely probable or likely but virtually inevitable.
There are three main aspects to the relationship that developed between the Southern state and the Provisional IRA. The first is that the Provisional IRA was financed and established by the Fianna Fáil Government under Jack Lynch. There are two things of significance about the Government's role in establishing the Provisional IRA.
First, how far did responsibility penetrate into the Cabinet? How high did it go? That was discussed in the most recent book by Justin O'Brien, 'The Arms Trial'. The point that I think O'Brien is making in the book, though I have not had time to read it exhaustively, is that contrary to many perceptions that this activity within the Cabinet was confined to Mr Haughey, Mr Boland and Mr Blaney in conjunction with an elected Member of this Assembly who represents Sinn Féin/IRA, it was actually done with the knowledge if not the sanction of Jack Lynch, who was the Taoiseach or Prime Minister.
Secondly, why was it done? It has been well established for some considerable time - and this was very clearly stated by Conor Cruise O'Brien in his introduction to Martin Dillon's book 'The Dirty War' - that there were two basic considerations in the mind of those who manoeuvred this organisation and split the IRA at that time. One of them was the concern in the Republic about agitational politics, which were a characteristic feature of the IRA of the late 1960s under the leadership of Cathal Goulding. The idea was that if they could split the IRA and finance the armament of a section of the IRA, they could return it to the old physical force tradition that it had effectively abandoned or put into abeyance in the 60s.
This was one of the most cruel and cynical operations you could think of. The plan was to finance the physical force tradition and to focus that tradition on Northern Ireland in order to lift the weight of agitational politics and the possibility of instability - a real concern to the security forces in the Republic in the late 1960s - regardless of the consequences. That was the point.
The other point is that within the judicial establishment in the Republic there was a total aversion to the extradition of terrorists for 30 years. For example, one warrant was regarded as invalid because a full stop was omitted at the end of a sentence. Margaret Thatcher is on record in her memoirs as saying that one of her reasons for signing the Anglo-Irish Agreement was to get further support on security from FitzGerald. However, she then realised that she would never get it.
I have to draw my speech to a close. Finally, I note that an enormous amount of arms was brought in and shifted around Ireland, which the security forces in the South never seem to get.
This is quite a shock to me; I agree with much of what Mr Roche has just said. I think that he has focused his mind on what the motion should have been focused on: the political attitudes of the Republic of Ireland.
And it should have been focused not only on the political attitudes of the Republic of Ireland but also on the ambivalence of the Republic of Ireland. Anecdotally, it is very powerful to listen to IRA men talk about phone calls from Dublin asking "Did you get the sewing machines?" These phone calls were from Dublin to Derry.
There have been two instances of serious collusion involving the Government of the Republic of Ireland. And remember that every institution in the Republic of Ireland is under Government control. How could it be otherwise? The Republic's relationship with the Catholic Church must also be considered. Mr Roche alluded to one of the reasons for collusion but did not expand on it quite as starkly as I am about to.
IRA members were socialists, and because they were socialists they were dangerous, and they wanted to do away with them. So they armed the ones who bit the altar rails, appealing on the basis of the "pogroms" in Belfast and elsewhere in Northern Ireland. The Irish Government and the Catholic Church thought it legitimate to involve themselves, but the underlying reason was the destruction of a socialist movement.
Mr Alban Maginness says that there is not enough evidence to examine what might have happened in the Republic of Ireland. He probably has the same view about the United States - another good friend of his - which would never ever have abandoned a legally constituted and democratic Government to install the Shah of Iran. The United States would never have abandoned the perfectly legitimate Government of Salvador Allende in Chile to replace it with their own people and all the subsequent trauma and tragedy. Perhaps he is unaware that Governments are inclined to do these things. When he looks at an ordinary RUC man he immediately thinks collusion - much the same as members of Sinn Féin do. I was disappointed that Alex Maskey did not come clean, own up and tell us truth about these circumstances. Sooner or later, the truth will out.
Back to Mr Maginness. When he looks at an RUC man he sees collusion, but he cannot imagine seeing that in the nice little Republic - the decent, nice little Republic. The Republic has more faith in itself than he has. In the Republic, a Government fell because of a paedophile priest. The Government have had their nightmares with a litany of public commissions and inquiries - and we laugh at them. Unionism says "Look at them, they're very bad people. Look what they're up to." The people in the Republic get a bit fed up with it, but in effect what we are seeing is a nation coming of age, a nation where it is no longer sensible, rational or reasonable to sweep things under the carpet. It is an attempt to convince the world that they are the nice little people that undoubtedly Mr Maginness considers them to be. They tell some modicum of the truth, and then they build that modicum of truth into the whole truth. We have seen it played out with the brown envelope culture and land development issues. It was also to be seen in governmental and institutional attitudes in the Republic throughout the troubles. It can happen.
Mr Maginness and others need to come to terms with the fact that Unionism is perhaps saying "You know what it feels like", because kindred spirits, whether we like it or not, often help each other. Since there is one encompassing entity called "Irish Nationalism", how is it irrational for a Unionist policeman or soldier to think that it is in the best interests of his people to pass on a piece of information, whether it is legal or not? They have done it, and they have been found guilty. But the Nationalist Benches tell us that that would and could not happen in the Republic of Ireland, that there is no evidence of it. Are they not human beings, human beings unwillingly trapped in a conflagration? If it is fair and reasonable to presume that many Governments have behaved badly, why does Mr Maginness defend a Government that presumably has behaved as badly as any other?
As an MLA who also represents the constituency of Newry and Armagh, particularly the south Armagh area, I support the motion. We can say that our constituents have suffered a great deal at the hands of the IRA. Our constituents have often come to us saying that they felt that there was collusion between the Garda Síochána, the Irish Government and the IRA. As the Unionist representative for that area, I thought that I would take it upon myself to bring the issue to the attention of the security Minister, Mr Adam Ingram. When I raised the issue with him he replied:
"You will no doubt have seen that Mr John O'Donoghue, the Irish Minister for Justice, announced on 13 April 2000 that a senior Garda officer would be appointed to re-examine the files on terrorist incidents in the border area in the 1980s and 1990s and to specifically investigate allegations of collusion between the Gardai and the IRA."
That is an insult to the people of this country.
The SDLP has called for investigations and inquiries into the murders of some of its constituents. Would Mr Alban Maginness appreciate an RUC investigation into the Hamill case? I am not saying that that is wrong or right, but I would like Mr Maginness to answer that question. I do not believe that a senior garda officer should be investigating these allegations. These are serious allegations of collusion between the gardaí and the IRA, and I think that means that the investigator should be independent. Collusion is not neutral, and the Irish Government should appoint someone neutral and independent. I would like Mr Alban Maginness to say whether he agrees with me on that.
Mr Kennedy and others have raised many issues today, and there should be an inquiry into the allegations that have been made. The Assembly should support a call for a public inquiry into these allegations of collusion between the Garda Síochána and the IRA.
Mr Paisley Jnr:
Would the Member go further and agree that any inquiry into the Garda Síochána should be international? Does he agree that it should include people from Northern Ireland of the highest standing and professionalism, for example, senior RUC officers, so that they can cast their eye over these issues and allow people here to draw their own conclusions once the reports have been completed? Does he agree that there should be an international inquiry?
I agree wholeheartedly with my Colleague that there should be a full international inquiry into these allegations. There have been few real calls for an investigation into the collaboration between the gardaí and the IRA during the troubles. We hear much of the investigations that Republican so-called politicians continually pursue. The unjust goings-on between the Southern Government and the security forces should be cause for an inquiry into these allegations. I support the motion.
Mr M Murphy:
Go raibh maith agat, a LeasCheann Comhairle. I support my Colleague Mr Maskey in saying that Mr Danny Kennedy's motion does not go far enough. There should be an all-Ireland inquiry into the involvement of both the British and Irish Governments. It is ironic that Unionists should, at this time, make allegations of gardaí and IRA collusion when no shred of evidence has been produced to substantiate them. Ordinary gardaí have been charged and sentenced, but it has never been proven that the Garda Síochána hierarchy has ever been involved in collusion with the IRA.
However, an array of newspaper articles published in the course of recent months clearly points to collusion between the British Army, the RUC and Loyalist murder gangs. Unionists would do well to focus on these, rather than running off on flights of fancy.
From the information gathered by the Stevens inquiry, and the leaks to the media which can be sourced to former British intelligence operations, it is clear that the undercover British Army unit - the Force Research Unit, better known as FRU - infiltrated, restructured and rearmed Loyalist gangs. Working in conjunction with the RUC, it made information relating to personal details of Nationalists available to Loyalists. It directed Loyalist murder gangs to specified targets in the Nationalist community and regularly ventured into the Twenty-six Counties on surveillance operations.
We then have the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. Nobody has ever been made accountable for those. These matters deserve our undivided attention and need to be properly investigated. Given the inability of Stevens's team to protect witnesses and their lack of authority in instructing former FRU operatives to give evidence, it is clear that important inquiries cannot be left to them.
On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Where is the matter of the jurisdiction of the Irish Republic referred to in my Colleague's commentary? There has been a lot about FRU and the RUC, but none of it, or very little of it, has been about the jurisdiction of the Irish Republic, in which, of course, the Garda Síochána function. Any inquiry could only take place in that jurisdiction.
Madam Deputy Speaker:
I thank the Member for his remarks. I ask Mr Murphy to return to the substance of the motion.
Mr M Murphy:
I am sticking to the substance of the motion. It is a well-known fact, and recent newspaper articles say that FRU was part and parcel of the Monaghan and Dublin bombs.
I will bring my remarks to a close. We in Sinn Féin demand that this matter be brought to a public inquiry.