A leading Ulster Unionist Minister has called on the Irish government to apologize for ‘funding and sheltering’ terrorists.
The North’s Minister for Enterprise Arlene Foster made the startling demand at the annual conference of the Democratic Unionist Party.
Delegates, including the province’s First Minister Peter Robinson, heard Foster and deputy party leader Nigel Dodds accuse the Irish government of aiding and abetting the IRA.
Foster went so far as to accuse various governments in the South of financing and bank-rolling the Provisional IRA.
She stated: “Conference, we are all aware of the role that previous Irish governments had in funding, and sheltering, terrorists.
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“I will do all in my power to push the Irish Government to apologise for their wrong-doing. It is long past the time to acknowledge their part in this past 40 years.
“If we are to have good relations, it must be built on mutual respect.”
Dodds issued similar criticisms of the Republic’s regime and also challenged Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny over recent statements in relation to the murder of Catholic solicitor Pat Finucane by the UDA, a loyalist paramilitary faction.
“Successive Irish governments have been complicit in the years of terror in Northern Ireland,” claimed Dodds to hundreds of party delegates before attacking Kenny’s call for a public enquiry into the Finucane case.
“Mr Kenny, if you come to Northern Ireland to start a selective campaign on the past, we serve notice we are on your case and we are coming after the truth about your State.
“Pat Finucane was murdered. And that murder was reprehensible and justice demands that all those who commit murder or are complicit in murder should be arrested, charged, convicted and sentenced.
“But Pat Finucane was not the only person to be brutally murdered. He was not even the only prominent lawyer to be murdered. No one has ever been brought to account for the murder of Edgar Graham at Queen’s University in December 1983. We hear little about that. He was a unionist.”
The North Belfast MP then told the DUP annual conference that the Irish Government should put its ‘house in order’ before commenting on affairs in Northern Ireland.
“British government apologies have been made but none from Dublin,” added Dodds. “Let’s have a look at successive Irish governments’ direct and indirect complicity in the years of terror in Northern Ireland.
“Let us have a detailed examination of the origins of the IRA campaign. Let’s look at IRA’s financing, their training and who helped arm them.
“Let’s investigate how Dublin allowed its territory to be used as a safe haven for terrorists. All that has been assiduously ignored.
“Sinn Féin is seeking to rewrite history but one simple and absolute truth will endure for all time: the terrorist campaign of the Provisional IRA was criminal, genocidal and sectarian.
“It was unjustified and will always be unjustifiable. Let republicans acknowledge that truth. Then we can all move forward.”
Both Dodds and Foster mocked the current state of the Republic’s economy with the former claiming that ‘the Germans are now in charge’.
Foster claimed that the Euro had failed as a currency and that Northern Ireland should be ‘very thankful’ that the British government maintained sterling.
“Let us not forget that one of the initiatives to help the euro zone was a bailout fund for the Republic of Ireland. Despite our budget being cut from Westminster, money was found to help the Republic,” said Minister Foster.
“Are they grateful? I’d venture to say that Enda Kenny should be expressing his appreciation for the assistance rather than lecturing us all about more costly inquiries.”