Published Monday, 20 January 2014
RUC officers Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan were killed in an IRA ambush. (© Pacemaker)
After an eight-year inquiry, Smithwick found that a mole in the garda station in Dundalk tipped off an IRA murder squad that led to the killing of two of the most senior RUC men killed during the Troubles.
Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan were ambushed by an IRA gang in 1989 on a rural border road in what was known as the 'bandit country' of south Armagh, minutes after leaving a high-level meeting at the station.
MLA Paul Givan, during a Stormont debate, proposed the Assembly calls on the Irish Government to "take the necessary action to ensure that those responsible for criminal acts within their jurisdiction are brought to justice and for the Minister of Justice and the Chief Constable to have urgent discussions with their counterparts in the Republic to ensure that they take all practical steps to prevent any repeat of such atrocities".
The Justice Committee chair and Lagan Valley MLA claimed the Dublin administration helped create the IRA years before the events examined in the report.
Speaking in the Assembly, he said: "The fact that the political establishment in Dublin is shocked by the revelations I find shocking, any process (for dealing with past wrongdoing) must also look at the actions of the Irish Government."
The DUP member accused the Republic's government of assisting in the creation of the IRA.
Former Taoiseach Charles Haughey and three others were cleared in 1970 of illegally importing arms for the IRA's use in Northern Ireland.
"This report should be the catalyst that brings forward the truth about the failings of the Irish Government and its agencies but ultimate responsibility lies with the Provisional IRA that carried out the cold-blooded murder of Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan and wreaked havoc for decades," Mr Givan added.
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, has said he is horrified that Smithwick found that a terrorist mole in the ranks of the force gave the IRA a tip-off and accepted the tribunal's conclusions.
But he said he would never accept that officers valued loyalty to the force over the truth.
Irish Justice Minister Alan Shatter has apologised "without reservation" to the families of the RUC officers for any failings on the part of the state that were identified in the Smithwick report.
During the debate, Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly added: "They need to realise that if it is the truth that they are looking (for) then let it come on the basis of equality, on the basis of parity of esteem, on the basis of mutual respect.
"Let's get away from the hierarchy of victims, let's realise that, as an example, Pat Finucane's family deserves your support as well as everybody else's."
Justice Minister David Ford said the speedy response by the Taoiseach, the Tanaiste and Mr Shatter, in particular the absolute and unqualified apology for any failings of the Irish state or its agencies, was welcomed.
"Looking forward, I know the Garda Commissioner is considering if new lines of inquiry arise in respect of the murders," he added.
Three recommendations in the report relate to relations between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Mr Ford said: "Let me say first that I remain committed to strengthening north/south co-operation wherever possible and building on the progress we have already made."
© UTV News