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Ó Caoláin demands independent inquiry into Dublin and Monaghan bombings

17 May, 2012 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin TD for Cavan/Monaghan Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin today raised in the Dáil the need for an independent international inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 17 May 1974.

Speaking today on the 38th anniversary of the bombings Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“Today is the 38th anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. I want to extend my continuing sympathy and solidarity with all the survivors and the bereaved of that terrible day. Thirty-three people were killed in those bombings which were carried out by agents acting in collusion with British crown forces. Of that there is now no doubt but what we do not have is accountability and truth and justice from the British Government.

“During his presentation to the Good Friday Agreement Implementation Committee on 2nd February 2012 members pressed British Secretary of State Owen Paterson on the failure of the British government to disclose relevant documentation. Owen Patterson told the Committee that the Foreign & Commonwealth Secretary William Hague ‘had assured his counterpart here that we have made available the synopsis that is relevant to this case’.

“This apparently refers to a 10-page letter to Judge Barron from former Secretary of State John Reid, dated 26th February 2002. Judge Barron expressed his frustration with the lack of information contained in this letter. He repeatedly requested the British Government for access to the documents themselves but on every occasion he was refused.

“With a straight face Owen Patterson told the Committee that the British Gernment ‘has been completely straight and up-front – at every opportunity we have made information available’. The Irish Government cannot let that go unchallenged.

“On 9 February the Seanad agreed unanimously a motion which notes that the question of obtaining access to information held by the British Government has been pursued for many years and requests the Irish Government to continue to raise the matter with the British Government and to press it to comply with this request and reaffirms the support of Members on all sides of this House. This mirrors a similar resolution adopted by the Dáil on our proposal at this time last year.

“Clearly the Taoiseach and Minister for Foreign Affairs have a strong mandate from the Oireachtas, repeatedly stated, to pursue this issue with real determination with the British government.

“On 18 April last the Guardian newspaper in Britain reported that an official review has concluded that thousands of documents detailing some of the most shameful acts and crimes committed during the final years of the British Empire were systematically destroyed to prevent them falling into the hands of post-independence governments. Those papers that survived were flown to Britain where they were hidden for 50 years in a secret Foreign Office archive, beyond the reach of historians and members of the public, and in breach of legal obligations for them to be transferred into the public domain. These files related to crimes by British forces in Kenya and other countries. The government here should certainly ask the British Government if files relating to the conflict in Ireland, the Dublin & Monaghan bombings and other acts of collusion in particular, were similarly treated. Were some destroyed and some retained secretly and perhaps illegally? We need answers.

“Finally, I want to raise the issue of funding for Justice for the Forgotten. The last government ended funding for the group which has done huge work both to support the survivors and the bereaved and to advance the search for truth and justice. In December 2010 the group, while retaining its separate name and identity, merged with the Pat Finucane Centre and secured a limited stream of funding. However, that did not cover the Dublin office which has now regrettably closed. I urge the government to restore funding for Justice for the Forgotten.”


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