Dublin-Monaghan bombings: Gilmore calls on British to act

Relatives begin legal action on 40th anniversary of attacks which killed 33 people

Thu, May 15, 2014, 00:49

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has called on the British Government to allow documents in its possession relating to the Dublin-Monaghan bombings of 1974 to be assessed by an independent international judicial figure.

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the bombings in which 33 people died and a further 300 people were injured.

Relatives of the victims of the bombings announced today that they intend to sue the British Government over alleged collusion in the bombings.

Mr Gilmore met family members of those killed and injured last week and said yesterday he had told them of the Government’s ongoing support for their dignified campaign.

“This anniversary also serves as a reminder of the urgent need for a comprehensive framework for dealing with the legacy of the past. There is no ready resolution to the complex issues associated with addressing the past. However, it is a challenge that all who were party to the conflict and to the peace process must be willing to take up.”

He said the Government’s view was there could be no hierarchy of victims but that in no way meant that where there was significant information available about specific Troubles-related deaths, this should be withheld deliberately on the basis that such information is not available in all cases.

“As we approach the 40th anniversary of the Dublin/Monaghan bombings, I renew the call on the British Government, our partner in the peace process and the joint guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement and its related agreements, to allow access on an agreed basis by an independent international judicial figure to the original documents in their possession relating to the bombings,” he said.

He said that both himself and the Taoiseach had worked hard to encourage a sea change in British-Irish relations.

“In this context, it is particularly disappointing that 40 years on, it has not yet proven possible for the British government to respond positively to the Dublin-Monaghan families. I call on the British government to look afresh at this request, which has been the subject of two all-party motions in Dáil Éireann,” he added.

A group of relative of the victims announced today they were beginning a legal action against the British Ministry of Defence, chief constable of the PSNI and the Northern Secretary seeking discovery of documents that would support allegations of collusion between loyalist bombers and the British state.

Kevin Winters, solicitor for the group representing some of the survivors and next-of-kin of those killed, claimed the British army, police and government were responsible as they were aware of who was involved in the bombing raid but did nothing to stop them, or investigate them after.

“This legal action is taken against a background of a series of previous attempts by the families to seek justice,” said Mr Winters. “It presents as the latest stage in their battle against many levels of state intransigence and indifference to their plight,” he added.

The legal action is being taken in the name of Paddy Askin, whose father was killed in Monaghan, and Derek Byrne who was injured in Dublin.

A report in 2003 by former Irish Supreme Court judge Henry Barron found grounds for suspecting the bombers may have had help from members of the British security forces but found no conclusive proof.