Published Wednesday, 29 August 2012
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UTV Live Tonight has examined RUC files on the atrocity which killed a total of 18 British soldiers, including 16 paratroopers, and was widely regarded as the IRA's bid for revenge for Bloody Sunday.
A senior RUC officer told UTV that it was his view that those killed did not get justice "perhaps for political considerations".
Outlining frustrations over the handling of the case, he said that Garda would not permit the RUC to use their facilities to interview suspects nor re-interview them to aid RUC investigation.
Lagan Valley DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson has said that the programme's findings "confirms what we've believed for a very long time that in the words of the RUC, 'the Republic was a haven for terrorists'- that there was a degree of collusion here, because bear in mind that collusion has been defined as not just as an act of commission, but an act of omission."
He said there had been a "a failure on the part of the state to assist into bringing to justice those responsible for murder".
I think the evidence is very clear in my opinion that there was political interference of the highest level to prevent the people who committed this atrocity being brought to justice.
"That is collusion, and its time the Irish government owned up to it and said sorry."
"I would just like the Taoiseach to travel from his office to the Dail and make a statement on behalf of the Irish government accepting that there was collusion, accepting that wrongs were done on the part of the Irish state and saying sorry," he added.
South Belfast SDLP MLA Conall McDevitt stressed the changes in Ireland since Narrow Water but said some sort of redress was needed victims' families.
"It does remind us of the imperative to reach a process which is capable at arriving at the truth of our conflict and to be able to do so in a way that builds reconciliation," he said.
What today reminds us is that there are questions on all sides- north of the border, south of the border, outside of this jurisdiction and this island which remain unanswered.
"As long as those questions remain unanswered, families on all sides of our divide will great sense of hurt and anguish within them," he added.
Despite damning evidence against two suspects - known IRA men Brendan Burns and Joseph Brennan, both from Crossmaglen - no one ever stood trial over the double bomb attack.
The pair were arrested minutes after the second blast in Co Down on 27 August 1979 and evidence against them included firearms residues, traces of ammonium nitrate, ferns in their clothing which could have come from the look-out sites and tests on saliva from a cigarette butt recovered from a lookout site.
But just two days later, the men were charged only with motoring offences and released.
Tensions between the RUC and An Garda Síochána were highlighted recently during the Smithwick tribunal into the murders of RUC men Bob Buchanan and Harry Breen.
The Historical Enquiries Team is currently re-examining the Narrow Water case.