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Green Bert | 03.08.2004 14:23 | Social Struggles

Let down again.


Relatives and survivors of the 1974 Monaghan and Dublin bombings have accused the Irish government of a “betrayal of trust” over a continued failure to set up a full public inquiry into the attacks.

The 26-County government has announced only a private inquiry is to be held into 1974 Monaghan and Dublin bombings, angering relatives and survivors of the attacks in which state collusion is suspected.

Following an examination by a parliamentary subcommittee of an inquiry by Justice Henry Barron, Dublin said it had agreed “in principle” to establish a “Commission of Investigation” to examine the original police investigation and missing documentation.

The bombings, which killed 33 people including an unborn baby, was the worst atrocity in the conflict. The previous investigations by Justice Barron and the Oireachtas subcommittee have been hampered by the continuing refusal of the British government to co-operate.

Terms of reference and establishment procedures for the new commission are to be brought to the cabinet when it returns following the summer break in September.

Justice for the Forgotten, the group representing the bereaved and survivors, expressed bitter disappointment at the government’s decision to hold only a private inquiry.

The group said it had stated that the “time for private inquiries was over” following the publication of the Barron report in December.

“It was never envisaged that any further inquiry would be behind closed doors and immune to public scrutiny,” the group said.

“Justice for the Forgotten called on the government to rescind its decision and during the forthcoming Northern Ireland peace talks, to gain agreement from the British government to establish a joint public tribunal of inquiry into the bombings.

“We have had five long years of partial and fragmented inquiries. It is now long past the time that the government lived up to its commitment to bring the truth of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings into the open.”

Sinn Féin TD Sean Crowe said the relatives had been misled by the country’s premier. He said: “At the 30th anniversary of the Dublin & Monaghan bombings, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern turned up at the memorial on Talbot Street and listened to relatives of those killed speaking about the pain they still feel and heard how only a fully independent public inquiry into the deaths of their loved ones could bring an end to that pain.

“Having supported the families in this way, Mr Ahern should now give these people the inquiry that they deserve and this state owes them. He can no longer allow people to hide behind private inquiries.

“While the garda investigation has to be examined, the collusion surroundings these bombings does not stop there, as the government well knows. By failing to open a full inquiry into the atrocity, is the government saying it finds it acceptable for a foreign government to collude in the bombing of its citizens?

“The government has spent 30 years prevaricating on this issue. The families don’t need another private inquiry. They don’t need an interim inquiry. They need one efficient and effective inquiry with the power to compel outside elements to comply with it. An inquiry lacking these essential elements will not win any support from these families. Mr Ahern’s predecessors have let down the victims of 1974 too many times. He has now joined their ranks.”

Green Bert