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British refusal to attend Barron hearings a gross insult to Dublin/Monaghan victims

11 February, 2004

Sinn Féin leader in the Dáil, Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin TD, has described the refusal of the British Government to attend the Justice Committee's hearing on the Barron Inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings as a "gross insult" to those searching for justice.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said: "I don't think there's a person on the planet who does not believe there was collusion between British state forces and loyalists in the planting and detonating of bombs in Dublin and Monaghan on May 17th 1974 which left 33 civilians dead. The only real question is the extent of that collusion and how high up the chain of command it went. And given the acknowledged and proven history of the involvement of British security agencies in arming and directing loyalist death squads over many decades it is reasonable to suspect that there were agents of the British state involved in those bombings.

"Paul Murphy's letter to the Justice Committee is nothing more than a gross insult to those seeking justice for the people killed, injured and bereaved in the bombings. His failure to make himself available to answer questions is of course not unexpected as it has been British Government policy for years to ignore and frustrate investigations into allegations of collusion, even inquiries they themselves set up. Unfortunately the attitude of Paul Murphy like so many more in the British establishment is assisted by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern who has been only too willing to accept as fact British claims that they have fully co-operated with the Barron inquiry.

"What we need now from the Taoiseach is a robust defence of the rights of these families and a direct demand from him to British Prime Minister Tony Blair to instruct Paul Murphy and all his state agencies to co-operate." ENDS

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