The revelation that British intelligence documents suggested that current Sinn Fein member of the Irish parliament Dessie Ellis was responsible for 50 murders during the IRA campaign has led to a major stand-off between Sinn Fein and Fine Gael, the main party in government.

Ellis has hit back hard at a statement made by Fine Gael's party chairman Charlie Flanagan, that if an Independent Truth Commission were to be set up, Ellis should be the first person called.

Flanagan stated “These matters can no longer be treated by Sinn Féin in a routine way. We cannot simply forget the past and sweep the issues which strike at the very heart of the democratic process under the carpet to suit Sinn Féin"

Ellis hit back saying “It is interesting that Fine Gael's Charlie Flanagan places such importance on the unsubstantiated claims of British intelligence – the same shadowy forces who murdered so many Irish citizens over the years.

“I'm sure that it hasn't escaped Deputy Flanagan's attention that I was cleared by a British court of these trumped up allegations which begs the question as to where he is coming from.

“Mr Flanagan mentions without any hint of irony the need for an Independent Truth & Reconciliation Commission despite the fact that it is Sinn Féin who have led such calls and despite the fact that Mr Flanagan's government has done nothing at all to support the establishment of such a process.

“I enthusiastically support the establishment of an Independent International Truth and Reconciliation Commission to deal with the legacy of conflict in Ireland. I hope Charlie Flanagan will follow up his new found support for such a process with positive action to pressurize his colleagues in government to act on this.

“Finally, let me say that I am very proud of my involvement in the republican struggle over the years and of the leadership role republicans have played in the peace process, despite the best efforts of nay-sayers such as Charlie Flanagan and his ilk.”

Dessie Smith