18 December 2003 Edition
Barron Report exposes Southern media hypocrisy
BY MITCHEL McLAUGHLIN
The findings of the Barron Report into the Dublin/Monaghan massacre of 33 Irish citizens and an unborn child in 1974 indicted not only successive Irish Governments for their lack of interest in finding the truth about who carried out the atrocity but also the southern media. At the time of the bombings, both the Irish Government and the southern media were consumed by their efforts to defeat the IRA as a force of resistance to British rule in Ireland and prevent Sinn Féin from becoming a political alternative to the SDLP in the North and a political threat to the establishment parties in the South.
Not only did the Irish Government and the Gardaí fail to pursue the perpetrators of the biggest mass murder in the history of the state but also it would seem that they were motivated by anti-republicanism. It is now clear that the Dublin authorities hoped that the outcry in the aftermath of the death and destruction in the heart of the capital would create such a backlash against the republican movement that it would herald the end of resistance in the North.
It didn't matter that evidence existed of collusion between British Security services and the UVF perpetrators if the massacre could be used to defeat the growth of republicanism. But the Irish government and the Gardaí were not alone in this deception. The media, with a few honourable exceptions, also played its part by not exposing the failure to carry out a proper investigation or pursue those responsible. Powerful elements of the Southern media willingly collaborate in the suppression of evidence of British Security Services involvement in murders of Irish citizens, not only in the 26 Counties but in the North also.
If it hadn't been for the tenacity of the relatives of the Dublin/Monaghan victims inspired by the Bloody Sunday families and the help and encouragement of people like Don Mullan we would not have even had a Barron Report. For the southern media to now attempt to wash its hands of any responsibility for the cover-up by heaping blame on successive Irish governments and the Gardaí is nothing short of rank hypocrisy. The media had the power and the information that could have brought irresistible pressure on the Irish Government to mount a properly constituted Public Inquiry with powers to subpoena witnesses and put international pressure on the British government to fully co-operate with it. It would seem that the limitations placed on Mr Justice Barron by the Government were designed to ensure that he could not bring in a report that contained comprehensive conclusions. It is also clear that, just as it frustrated the attempts by the Saville Inquiry to obtain crucial evidence, the British Ministry of Defence and the NIO treated Mr Justice Barron with the same contempt and refused to co-operate.
It is time that the Irish Government stood up to the British by using all international mechanisms that are available to bring the British Government to book for its crimes against the Irish people. It is also incumbent on the Irish media to take its responsibilities to the people of Ireland seriously — stop collaborating in Britain's propaganda war and assist in this exposé.