Northern Ireland

Peter Robinson seeks Irish government apology

First Minister Peter Robinson
Image caption Peter Robinson said Enda Kenny should apologise for the role of the Irish Government in the troubles

First Minister Peter Robinson has called on the Irish government to apologise for its role in the early years of The Troubles.

Mr Robinson said Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny should apologise for the role previous governments played in arming and encouraging the IRA.

On Thursday, Mr Kenny told relatives of those killed in the Kingsmills massacre he could not apologise for the IRA.

On 5 January 1976, ten textile workers were murdered in rural County Armagh.

They were travelling home from work on a minibus when they were shot.

Last year, a report by the Historical Enquiries Team, which examines unsolved murders from the Troubles, found the IRA was responsible for murdering the 10 men. One man survived.

Speaking on the BBC Inside Politics programme, Mr Robinson said he agreed Mr Kenny should not be apologising for the IRA.

"Nobody should be apologising for the IRA, other than those in the republican movement," he said.

"What he (Mr Kenny) does need to apologise for, is the role of the Irish government.

"There is a clear connection between what the IRA did in its infancy and the government of the Irish Republic.

"I think the Irish Republic would do well to look at its role and recognise that it was not the way it should have behaved in those days and apologise for it because massive death and destruction followed," he said.

The DUP, of which Mr Robinson is leader, has tabled an assembly motion for Monday seeking an apology.

The motion says it "welcomes the improved relations with the Republic of Ireland".

It says it "believes that relations would improve further" with an apology from the current Irish government for "the role played by the Irish government of the day in the emergence of the Provisional IRA and the roles of past governments regarding the pursuit of terrorists".

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