Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Collusion was an official policy of British Government – Ó Snodaigh

18 May, 2011 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Speaking in the Dáil this evening on a Sinn Féin motion regarding the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings of 1974 Dublin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh said collusion between Loyalist paramilitaries and British State forces was an official political policy of the British Government.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh called on the Government not to proceed with the Tribunal of Inquiries Bill as it will have grave consequences for truth recovery.

The following is the full text of Deputy Ó Snodaigh’s contribution to the debate:

“This motion is ultimately about truth recovery and I welcome the fact that all parties came on board to support it. The motion demonstrates the value that we all place on truth and justice. The victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings are not alone in their quest for the truth. There have been other travesties, where justice has been denied.
For instance, I would ask the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste to make themselves aware of the facts surrounding the execution by British Paratroopers of 11 civilians in a two day period in August 1971 prior to them moving on to Derry where they gunned down 14 others in January 1972.

“The apology from British premier David Cameron last year for the slaughter of civilians in Derry was extracted from the British government after 30 years, but as yet no apology has been forthcoming, no truth has been forthcoming, for the many other killings of civilians and non combatants by British soldiers, RUC officers or by their pseudo gangs – their proxy killers.

“It was an official political policy by the British government for generations to establish, equip, and direct pseudo gangs to do their bidding. An integral part of that strategy was to target opponents, insurgents, their supporters and to strike terror in the supposed host community. It was aimed at discrediting opponents, causing chaos, diverting blame, confusing the issues/ muddying the waters.

“This pseudo gang strategy was implemented in Ireland, North and South by the British army in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s. General Frank Kitson who refined a centuries old colonial and imperialist strategy was in Ireland in the early 1970s and went on to become Aide-de-Camp General to the Queen in the early 1980s. He was granted a CBE for his role in Ireland.

“The actions of the UDA, UVF, the Littlejohns and many others on the orders of their shadowy military directors, whether the were SAS, MI5, MI6, MRF, Tara, Ulster Resistance, LVF etc have never been fully probed, except for a few brave souls. Some who lost their lives for daring to expose britain’s Dirty war in Ireland, solictors Rosemary Nelson and Pat Finucane among them.

“There have been those with this state who have colluded or facilitated the British war machine in Ireland in particular since 1969, some may have been agents of the Crown, some may have been dupes, others were cheerleaders for the British war in Ireland, most were ignorant or didn’t want to know the truth or didn’t care to find out the truth, even it they could in the era of censorship.

“I want to, in that context, place on record our utter rejection of the remarks of Deputy Robert Dowds in the debate last night. Deputy Dowds stated: "In many respects, the Dublin and Monaghan bombings were a response to the deadly activities of Sinn Féin and the IRA in the 1970s."

“This parrots the argument of the perpetrators of the bombings and Deputy Dowds should withdraw it. At the time of the bombings Sinn Féin was actually still banned in the Six Counties. Internment without trial was ongoing. If he cares to examine the history of the conflict he will see clearly the central role of unionist paramilitaries in it. The bombings took place in the context of the unionist campaign against the Sunningdale Executive. Deputy Dowds is harking back to the Fine Gael/Labour government of the day which tried to blame republicans for the bombings. Deputy Dowds obviously hankers back to the regime of Conor Cruise O’Brien, Paddy Donegan and Liam Cosgrave, ably assisted by civil servants such as Peter Berry. Whose agenda they were following then, who was pulling their strings.

“I am reminded of the statement from a former Minister for Justice, a Fine Gael one at that, Nora Owen when she said in May 1995:

‘The Commissioner is satisfied that the matter has been taken as far as it could go and that no useful purpose could be served by any further enquiries.’ No useful purpose!!

“I salute all those who stood up to the anti-republican agenda of the establishment in this state at that time, who braved the wrath of the ministers and their servants. My own father was threatened to be sacked from his job in the museum for having spoken at a commemorative lecture on 1916 – his job. McCarthyism was alive and well in the 1970s and 1980s in this state, and the witch-hunt against republicans in that era contributed nothing to a solution to the confict, in fact probably prolonged them.

“I hope we have now reached an era of respect, which deals with the legacy of the past in an open and frank manner, but I would urge, with that in mind, that this government should not proceed with the Tribunals of Inquiry Bill 2005. This Bill was published by the then Justice Minister Michael McDowell in 2005 and has grave consequences for truth recovery, particularly in cases of suspected state collusion.

“No one can deny we are in need of new legislation to govern the work of tribunals, to reduce costs especially, but it could be used by future governments to stop public inquiries from delivering the truth to the public and to the families of victims of collusion in particular. It is along the lines of the British Inquiries Act, which was introduced to prevent a full public inquiry taking place into the murder of Pat Finucane.

“This government cannot sign this all-party motion aimed at forcing Britain to reveal the truth yet proceed with legislation that would undermine our demand by giving themselves a significant power to cover things up.

“The relatives and those representing victims of collusion have long sought full, independent and public inquiries. I believe we must work together to ensure that no legislation is introduced that would jeopardise and compromise the independence of future inquiries.

“I salute the Justice for the Forgotten and Pat Finucane Centre and Relatives for Justice for their Trojan work over the years in exposing the truth and wish them well. I wish the families luck in the future in the hope that they will receive the files from Britain and learn the full truth. I urge this government to restore the funding for the Justice for the Forgotten at the level it was before the Fianna Fáil government slashed it until their work is complete.” ENDS

Connect with Sinn Féin