Dublin-Monaghan bombings: Minister pledges to seek ‘full truth’

47 years after attacks, ‘we are no wiser’ as to role of British state, says FF Senator

The Nassau Street bombing aftermath in Dublin, 1974. Three bombs exploded in Dublin and one in Monaghan in May 1974. Photograph: Pat Langan/ The Irish Times

The Nassau Street bombing aftermath in Dublin, 1974. Three bombs exploded in Dublin and one in Monaghan in May 1974. Photograph: Pat Langan/ The Irish Times

 

The Government is fully committed “to seek out the truth” behind the Dublin and Monaghan bombings and to secure some measure of comfort for the victim’s families and the survivors, Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys has said.

Commenting on the 47th anniversary of the bombings which killed 33 people Ms Humphreys said” we will continue in our work to develop and establish effective ways to address the legacy of the troubles, including implementation of measures agreed in the Stormont House Agreement, so as to meet the legitimate needs and expectations of all victims and survivors. 

Ms Humphreys, a TD for Cavan-Monaghan added that “as we strive to make progress to a better future for all who share this island, we must not forget all of those who died in the violence of the Troubles, those who mourn them and those who were injured.”


Redouble efforts


Earlier in the Seanad a call was made for the Government to redouble its efforts to get the British government to release all documents relating to the atrocities in which 33 people died.

Fianna Fáil Monaghan Senator Robbie Gallagher said every year the issue is debated in the Oireachtas but “it’s difficult and frustrating to try to understand how, 47 years on, we are no wiser as to the role of the British state or who was responsible for this tragedy”, in which seven people died in Co Monaghan and 26 in Dublin.

He pointed out that it was the greatest loss of life on a single day during the Troubles and said the “quest for truth and justice has been blocked in every quarter and largely ignored”.

Loyalist paramilitary organisation the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) admitted responsibility amid allegations that elements of British security forces helped them.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Colm Brophy said the Government has consistently raised the issue with the British government and prime minister Boris Johnson.

“We have also raised the Dublin-Monaghan bombings and the need for access to all original documents during regular engagements with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland,” he said.

But expressing hope about a resolution, Mr Brophy pointed to the “powerful findings of the inquest last week into the deaths of ten people in Ballymurphy in 1971. It shows that truth can still be brought to light, even decades later.

“Some injustices can be corrected for the world to see,” he said, adding that he looked forward to the day the families of the victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombing s would see a similar outcome.

All-party motions

Over more than a decade the Dáil has passed three all-party motions, in 2008, 2011 and 2016, calling for the British authorities to allow access by an independent, international judicial figure to all original documents relating to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

The motions also asked for access to original documents relating to the Dublin bombings of 1972 and 1973, the bombing of Kay’s Tavern in Dundalk in 1975 and the murder of Seamus Ludlow in Dundalk in 1976.

The Minister added that the former Bedfordshire chief constable Jon Boutcher who is heading an independent police team to conduct an analytical report for the PSNI on collusion in certain cases has been in regular contact with the Garda Commissioner as well as with the Dublin-Monaghan families and “this is a potentially significant development”.

Mr Gallagher said “it is imperative that both Governments work together to deliver a structure that can manage the legacy of the past in a way that can positively contribute to reconciliation on this island in the future. Unilateral action is unacceptable.”