Mr Frank O'Neill and Ms Bairbre De Brun

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The Independent Online
In a front-page article published on Thursday, 21 November 1996, headed "IRA took tea in Commons say MI5", we reported a visit by a Sinn Fein delegation to the House of Commons to meet Labour MPs. We said that the two Sinn Fein officials accompanying the party leader were "suspected by MI5 of being members of the IRA's ruling army council".

On Friday 22 November, we reported the "unprecedented" denial by MI5 of any involvement, and gave the names of the two Sinn Fein officials as Frank O'Neill and Bairbre de Brun. We described them as prominent Irish republicans and said "Neither seems a likely member of the IRA army council".

Mr O'Neill and Ms de Brun have informed us, and we fully accept, that while they are both members of Sinn Fein, and indeed Mr O'Neill is its official representative in England, neither has been a member of the IRA, let alone of its army council.

We are happy to make this point clear.