Ferris Calls For Public Inquiry into issues highlighted by Barron Report
Last night in the Dáil, Kerry North Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris raised the need to hold a public inquiry into the issues highlighted by the Barron Report. Deputy Ferris also asked that such an inquiry would consider all allegations of British military and intelligence involvement in violent incidents within the state between 1969 and 1976. In his reply, Minister for State Brian Lenihan said that the Barron Commission would report on these in the New Year, and that the question of whether to hold a public inquiry would then be considered.
In his contribution, Deputy Ferris said: "According to the Barron Report many of the documents relating to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings have been "lost or destroyed". For example, the Inquiry was not able to see the security file on the Dublin bombings, and there are no files on the UVF and UDA for 1974 and 1975, while there are for all other years. According to the Report, the Commission was given no explanation for their disappearance.
"Nor are there files on the Dublin bombings of December 1 1972. They led to the introduction of the amended Offences Against the State Act, and are strongly suspected as having been carried out by British Intelligence agents. But even apart from the missing files, the Report states that "The Garda investigation failed to make full use of the information it obtained", and that " -- the Government of the day showed little interest in the bombings". Why this was so must also be the subject of an inquiry.
"It is vital that the Commission of Inquiry proceed immediately with an investigation not only into the events referred to in the Preface to the Report, but into all incidents that took place within this state from 1969 to 1976, where there is strong evidence of involvement by the British military and intelligence services. We have hints of this in the Report with references to British military personnel seen in Dublin at the time of the December 1972 bombs, and immediately prior to the May 1974 incidents. Another British officer was found in possession of weapons in Dublin on the very day of the bombings. Such an Inquiry should take place in public so that we can have a full account of what took place.
"Another issue touched on is the role of agents within the Garda Special Branch. John McCoy who was central to the Monaghan investigation is mentioned and there have been strong allegations over the years regarding his connections with the British security forces. It would also appear that former Garda Commissioner Ned Garvey was well aware of whatever contacts were taking place.
"The most damning aspect of the Report, however, is its verdict on the role of the Fine Gael Labour Coalition of the time. This was a Government that contained such upstanding defenders of law and order as Liam Cosgrave and Paddy Cooney and Paddy Donegan and of course Conor Cruise O'Brien.
"And what was their reaction to the bombings in 1974? According to the Report they made no effort to assist the investigation, and when they were told that some of those responsible had been interned they made no effort to follow up on this or to pursue those individuals after they were released a short time later. Not only that but serving members of the Gardai at the time were under the distinct impression that the Government of the day did not want the investigation to be continued. And indeed it was not.
"All of these matters require that they are made subject to a full public inquiry and some of the families have already called for this. It seems that everyone else who was party to the conflict of the past 30 years is expected to continuously apologise and explain themselves. Well, the very least that those who were responsible for ignoring the murder of dozens of people and indeed the subversion of the very institutions they claimed to cherish above all else, ought to be made do the same. It might, if nothing else, give them a break from writing nonsense in the Sunday newspapers. ENDS