A DUP MP has called on the Irish government to formally apologise for the alleged role it played in helping “arm and assist” the Provisional IRA in the late 1960s.
There have long been claims that the nascent Provos received arms and funding from the Fianna Fáil-led government in 1969.
Gregory Campbell, MP for East Derry, says a “long overdue” apology from the Dublin administration could help “solidify” relations on the island of Ireland.
The DUP politician has also urged former IRA men to “help bring closure” by providing any information they may have “regarding outstanding cases where no prosecutions have been forthcoming.”
In his New Year message, Mr. Campbell says all factions of the IRA - “whether they be dissident, real, continuity or provisional” - need to “get the message that the unionist community is determined that the future must be built and prepared for while giving no credence of sense of credibility to the revisionists in their ranks.”
He added: “The task today is to build for the next one hundred years so that all can benefit from that vision. Each of us must dedicate ourselves to that building programme.”
The DUP MP also refers to “difficult times ahead” in his annual New Year message.
“There is no doubt, as the economy both locally and nationally takes more time to begin the recovery phase, it will be difficult for those in work as well as those looking to try and find it.
“The Eurozone crisis still looks as if it has some way to go and we must prepare for an improvement in the economy, trying to ensure that our school leavers and entrepreneurs have the necessary skills to take advantage when that recovery eventually does arrive.”
Mr. Campbell says 2012 will mark the start of a decade long series of centenary commemorations.
“From the signing of the Ulster Covenant in 1912 right through to the formation of Northern Ireland itself in 1921, we need to ensure that the fighting spirit which was essential 100 years ago remains evident today, especially to those who would try and change tactic to achieve what was beyond them a century ago.”