When is Dublin going to come clean about the extent of their collusion with republicans?
The Republic is quick to demand transparency from others, but what of its own record, asks Nelson McCausland
In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about the past and it is one of the issues in the current political talks. There have been demands for greater transparency by the British Government, with some critics demanding that they open up all, or almost all, of their security files for scrutiny.
Meanwhile, it has been noted that there has been an inconsistency on the part of republicans, who demand transparency from the government and the security forces, but are unwilling to provide transparency themselves.
Remember how the late Martin McGuinness told the Saville Inquiry into Bloody Sunday that there were some things he wouldn’t talk about because of an IRA oath?
However, there is one major player who has managed to stay totally aloof from such demands for transparency and that is the Dublin government — in spite of the fact that the Republic has much to be transparent about.
A good example is the case of Garda Richard Fallon, who was shot dead by a Saor Eire gunman during a Dublin bank robbery in April 1970.
Saor Eire was a small Trotskyist terrorist organisation and Richard Fallon’s son, Finian Fallon, continues to search for the truth about his father’s murder.
Recently, he presented to the Dublin government evidence of “government-sanctioned gun-running” and such evidence has been around for many years.
Ten years ago, the release of new government papers confirmed that Padraig “Jock” Haughey, brother of Charles Haughey, was photographed in London in the company of republican terrorists.
This was at the point where senior members of the Fianna Fail government and their paramilitary associates were seeking to import arms to hand over to republicans in Northern Ireland.
According to one witness, a UK Special Branch photograph shows “Jock” Haughey in London with a member of Saor Eire and John Kelly, a founding member of the IRA.
Now, Charles and “Jock” were many things, but they were definitely not Trotskyists, so what was “Jock” Haughey doing with his Saor Eire companion?
Saor Eire was formed in 1967 and over the next few years it carried out a serious of spectacular bank robberies, on both sides of the border.
The money that was raised from the robberies was then used to purchase arms and, in 1969, much of that weaponry was handed over to northern republicans.
So, what arms were purchased with the proceeds of the Saor Eire bank robberies, to which northern republicans were these weapons given, what was the role of Fianna Fail ministers, and were any of the guns linked to the murders carried out by republicans in Northern Ireland?
There was an arms trial in Dublin in 1970, but that degenerated into farce and the family of one of the accused, Captain James Kelly, are still seeking justice for their father. However, that trial did not look at the Saor Eire connection.
The association of Charles Haughey’s brother with leading members of Saor Eire and the IRA suggests a relationship which can only be described as “state collusion”.
That is a term which is often used in relation to the British Government and security forces and loyalist paramilitaries, but it is equally applicable to Dublin and collusion with republican paramilitaries.
Sinn Fein are quick to talk about “state collusion” and call for investigations and inquiries when that state is the United Kingdom, but seem remarkably silent about “state collusion” when that state is the Irish Republic.
These days, the Dublin foreign minister, Charlie Flanagan, spends a lot of time on this side of the border, so there is ample opportunity to pass on that demand for a full public inquiry into “state collusion” with republican paramilitaries, including Saor Eire, in 1969 and 1970. Dublin has buried the truth about its “state collusion” for too long.
And, this week, I wonder if John Kelly, who went on to become a Sinn Fein MLA, ever talked to Martin McGuinness about it in the Sinn Fein room at Stormont.