Irish State tried to curb violence, Gilmore tells British-Irish meeting
Tánaiste acknowledges unionists have perception State did not do enough
Eamon Gilmore: “The Irish State made huge efforts to curb the violence,” he said, adding that successive Irish governments had made “repeated efforts made to get talks going”. Photograph: Eric Luke
The Irish State must acknowledge that many unionists believe that it did not do enough to combat the Provisional IRA during the Troubles, Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore has said.
His declaration on Saturday came in advance of the opening of talks chaired by ex-US diplomat, Richard Haass that will seek to examine ways of dealing with the past.
In a speech to the British-Irish Association in Cambridge, Mr Gilmore said: “We need to acknowledge those unionists who feel that, notwithstanding the sacrifices made by members of an Garda Síochána and the Irish Army throughout the Troubles, the Irish State could have done more to prevent the IRA’s murderous activities in Border areas.”
In an interview with The Irish Times, Mr Gilmore was cautious about the road ahead, insisting that he believed the Irish State has an honourable record to defend.
Beyond acknowledging the unionist arguments, Mr Gilmore did not indicate a route by which unionist charges over specific cases could be examined.
“The Irish State made huge efforts to curb the violence,” he said, adding that successive Irish governments had made “repeated efforts made to get talks going”.
“But we do have to acknowledge that there are people who think otherwise and we have to be willing to hear if there is criticism of the way in which the Irish State handled particular issues.
Meanwhile, Mr Gilmore said he hoped members of the British Royal Family and unionist political leaders will be invited to the commemoration of the Easter Rising’s 100th anniversary in 2016.