Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Troubles victims want Kenny apology

Campaigners want Enda Kenny to apologise for what they say was inaction by the government during the Troubles

Another delegation of victims of the Northern Ireland Troubles is to challenge Taoiseach Enda Kenny to apologise for alleged government inaction against the IRA.

Bereaved and injured from Co Fermanagh are travelling to Dublin to confront the premier with their claims that successive administrations there did not do enough to clamp down on republican paramilitaries during the conflict.

Last month victims of the 1976 Kingsmill massacre in South Armagh met Mr Kenny over the same issue.

The meetings come amid moves by Unionist politicians in the Northern Ireland Assembly to press the authorities south of the border to say sorry.

They claim the Republic was to all intents and purposes a safe haven for terrorists during the Troubles, with the powers-that-be reluctant to hunt down suspects or extradite them to the UK.

The Taoiseach has insisted the government should not apologise for IRA violence and has noted the efforts of his predecessors to secure peace. The current administration has also highlighted that Gardai and members of the Irish Defence Forces lost their lives at the hands of the IRA.

The Democratic Unionist Arlene Foster, who is economy minister at Stormont and the Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA, will lead the delegation to meet Mr Kenny. Mrs Foster's late father survived an IRA gun attack during the Troubles.

"It is a privilege to lead this group of victims to tell their story in Dublin," she said. "Their stories are not only harrowing but they highlight the lack of adequate security provision on the Republic of Ireland side of the border during the Troubles.

"These were attacks often planned from within the Republic of Ireland by people from the Republic, and returning there afterwards meant the terrorists were provided an effective safe haven.

"These victims are not asking Mr Kenny to apologise for the actions of the IRA, but for those of the Irish government who not only failed to put the necessary security measures in place to prevent attacks, but who refused to extradite terrorist suspects back to the United Kingdom to face justice."

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