The Dublin parliament is to debate an all-party motion condemning collusion by British forces in atrocities in the North of Ireland.

26-County Prime Minister, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern last night [Wednesday] gave his support for a future all-party motion on collusion as the parliament debated the issue.

Members of the 'Justice for the Forgotten' group attended the debate which had been promised since a report by a parliamentary Justice Committee inquiry in 2006.

Taoiseach Ahern condemned the British government for failing to cooperate with inquiries about collusion-related bombings and assassinations in the North.

He said the willingness of the British authorities to cooperate with the various inquiries north and south had been "found wanting".

"The question of collusion between the [British Crown] forces and terrorists in perpetrating these attacks has always been unanswered." he said.

"We have consistently called for the British government to meet its responsibilities to co-operate with inquiries in this State and to help (uncover) the truth."

Labour's spokesman on human rights, Joe Costello, said there had been 10 years of government- and parliament-sponsored investigations and reports.

The level of implementation has been "totally unsatisfactory," Mr Costello said. He said the Government should now pressurise the British government for access to all original documents relating to the atrocities that occurred in this jurisdiction, in particular the Dublin and Monaghan Bombing of 1974.

The head of the Justice Committee inquiry, Government TD Sean Ardagh, said that his meetings with victims' families convinced him that unionist paramilitaries had colluded with British police and soldiers in shootings and bombings.

He said: "We were stunned into silence by the real harrowing stories that were told to the committee. Those memories survive with those people and will continue long after that day and this day."

Ardagh welcomed Ahern's support for an all-party motion on collusion.

"I hope that the party whips will make every effort to find an agreed wording on the question of collusion."

"Initially I wasn't sure and was accepting there wasn't collusion, but as one report after report came, it was fixed that there was collusion between the British security forces and the perpetrators of these dastardly crimes.

"Sections of the British establishment took the view that the end justified the means that were being used."

Mr Ardagh also pointed out that the British government didn't give full co-operation on atrocities when requested by official reports.

"That in itself indicated that there was something to hide. I believe that a blind eye was turned to a lot of paramilitary activities," he added.

Sinn Féin criticised the British government for refusing to hand over official files which could help the investigation of bombings and assassinations planned by units of the British Army and RUC Special Branch.

Sinn Féin Dail leader Caoimhghin O Caolain TD called on the Taoiseach to hold a special summit meeting with the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on the issue of collusion.

Deputy O Caolain said the McEntee report highlighted a "massive failure" on the part of the 26-County State to properly investigate the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of May 1974.

"The only logical explanation for what took place is a cover-up of collusion.

"Gross incompetence is not enough to explain the failure to investigate and the apparent destruction of records. The report again exposed the refusal of the British authorities to co-operate with a Commission of inquiry established by the Oireachtas.

Mr O Caolain said the findings of a variety of reports justified the demand for full, independent, public judicial inquiries, including the Barron and Cory reports.

"Both the British and Irish governments have failed to establish the inquiries repeatedly sought by relatives seeking truth and justice. This is despite statements such as those by the Taoiseach as recently as 10 December 2007 when he said that the suffering of victims had been sharpened "by the clear evidence of collusion by the security forces in many murders".

"I want to repeat Sinn Féin's demand for the Taoiseach to hold a special summit meeting with the British Prime Minister solely focused on the issue of collusion.

"The Taoiseach should create such an opportunity to demand of the British government that they provide access to all the original documents relating to the acts of collusion carried out in this jurisdiction that I have cited and indeed to the whole record of collusion in their possession.

"The search for truth and justice is far from over."

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