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Northern Ireland leader threatens to quit over IRA

Wednesday - 2/26/2014, 3:08pm  ET

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) -- The leader of Northern Ireland's unity government has threatened to resign because of revelations the British government has supplied so-called get out of jail free letters to Irish Republican Army fugitives from justice.

First Minister Peter Robinson said Wednesday his British Protestant party would never have formed a coalition with Sinn Fein, the IRA-linked party, in 2007 had Britain revealed it was giving written guarantees to IRA veterans who fled to the Republic of Ireland.

The British government admitted Tuesday its Northern Ireland Office had issued 187 such letters promising recipients they no longer risked arrest for outstanding crimes when traveling into the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland. Sinn Fein demanded the measure.

Robinson says British leaders repeatedly lied to him about this and he is "incandescent with rage."


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