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19 June 2003 Edition

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Dublin/Monaghan families welcome inquest and victims' fund

BY JOANNE CORCORAN


Families of people killed in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings welcomed news last week that the inquest into the deaths is to be reopened.

Dublin City Coroner Brian Farrell said he was formaly reopening the inquest into the deaths of the 26 people killed in Dublin and one person who was injured in the Monaghan bombing but who later died in a Dublin hospital. Farrell said a date may be set this week for the start of a full hearing.

On 17 May 1974, two loyalist car bombs exploded within 85 minutes of each other, one in central Dublin and another in the border town of Monaghan,. Thirty-three people died and hundreds were injured. It was the biggest loss of life on a single day during the course of the conflict.

On Monday 16 June, the 26-County government announced a decision to proceed with the establishment of a Remembrance Fund and Commission to give assistance to victims of bombings over the past 30 years. Justice for the Forgotten welcomed the announcement, saying that it is 'very important that the state acknowledges in a dignified way the special loss suffered by bereaved families." It added that the focus of the families' campaign remains the establishment of a full public inquiry and scrutiny of the facts and circumstances surrounding the bombings.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern told the Dáil on Tuesday that he hopes to have Justice Barron's report, following his inquiry into the bombings, by September at the latest.

Ahern was asked if he would consider re-opening the Garda inquiry into the bombings following the publication of the report and replied that he would be prepared to do anything to get to the truth. He described as 'extraordinary' the decision to close down the Garda investigation after a year and to adjourn the inquests after death certificates were issued.

Justice for the Forgotten has been highly critical of successive Dublin governments for their failure to act in relation to the atrocity.
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