Government ‘seeking documents’ on Dublin-Monaghan bombs

Taoiseach, survivors and relatives of the 34 people who died mark 40th anniversary

Claudia Bradley, sister of the late Josephine Bradley who was killed in the Talbot Street bombing, attends the Justice for the Forgotten wreath-laying ceremony to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

Claudia Bradley, sister of the late Josephine Bradley who was killed in the Talbot Street bombing, attends the Justice for the Forgotten wreath-laying ceremony to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

 

The Government is seeking access to documents surrounding the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said today at a ceremony to mark the 40th anniversary of the attacks in which 34 people were killed and hundreds more injured.

Speaking today at the ceremony on Talbot Street in Dublin, where one of the attacks took place, Mr Kenny said he had raised the issue with British prime minister David Cameron.

During the hour long ceremony attended by a large group of survivors, family members of those killed and dignitaries, wreaths were laid in memory of those who perished and a number of speakers addressed the importance of finding out exactly what was behind the massacre.

The commemoration comes just days after the Justice for the Forgotten group announced legal proceedings against the British government to secure documents that may answer some of those questions.

“We will all do what we can to make sure they have justice that is right and that you demand for them,” the Taoiseach said in his address.

Describing a day he remembered clearly, he said: “It was Friday, the best evening of the week, but unknown to them and unknown to us all, unknown individuals were planting death here in our capital city and in a border town.

“And when they were done, four bombs exploded to be heard across Dublin, to be heard across the island, to be heard across the world; the impact would be felt across the generations.”

The 34 deaths on May 17th, 1974 included a full term unborn child. The first bomb detonated in Parnell Street at 5.28pm, and 11 people were killed. Two minutes later, 14 died when a second explosion shattered Talbot Street. At the same time a third explosion occurred in South Leinster Street, killing two more.

Shortly afterwards the fourth bomb went off in Monaghan town where seven more lives were lost. Nobody has ever been charged and although the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) claimed responsibility, there are demands that claims of state collusion be properly investigated.

The names of all of the victims were read out at today’s ceremony which was also attended by Tomassino Magliocco from Italy whose father Antonio was killed on Parnell Street.

The mayor of Monaghan Seán Conlon said it was time to find out who was responsible, for the “grandchildren who are asking why is it that there is no justice for my granny or granddad?”

Referring to renewed Anglo-Irish relations he cautioned that until such time as documentation on the bombings was released, this would “count for very, very little indeed”, to a chorus of applause.

The historian and journalist Tim Pat Coogan delivered the oration and expanded on the theme of justice, focusing in particular on the conduct of the MI5 and the British security services.

Praising the Taoiseach for seeking answers, he said: “The first duty of a government is the care of its people; that duty was not upheld. The Taoiseach is here and he is upholding it.

“The time is due and overdue for something on the order, on the lines of a truth and reconciliation conference.”

Noel Hegarty was an apprentice tailor on his way home from work when he was knocked unconscious by the Talbot Street bomb. He woke up in a hospital bed where he was being administered the last rites.

“It’s been brushed under the carpet for so long and we have been a forgotten minority for so many years,” he said.