11 March 2004 Edition

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New cover-up of Garda files on Dublin/Monaghan bombings

Reports that a senior member of the Gardaí ordered a key Garda file on the May 1974 Dublin/Monaghan bombings to be removed from an office and that this file was later found under the seat of a patrol car were raised with the Taoiseach in the Dáil by Sinn Féin's Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin on Wednesday.

Investigative journalist Frank Connolly reported in Ireland on Sunday on 7 March that a top Garda ordered a file to be taken out of a room in Special Branch headquarters in Dublin. The file related to the Monaghan bomb. The same file was allegedly later found by a detective under the seat of a patrol car in which he was detailed to accompany a post office van. This is reported to have occurred two years ago, at a time when the investigation by Judge Barron was ongoing. Raising the issue during the Order of Business, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin had the following exchange with the Taoiseach:

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Will the Taoiseach indicate whether an investigation has been ordered by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform into reports that key files on the Dublin and Monaghan bombings were removed from Harcourt Square on the orders of a senior Garda officer and were subsequently found under the seat of a Garda car? Will this matter be investigated urgently and will the results of the investigation be forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr. Justice Barron and the Oireachtas committee investigating the findings of Mr. Justice Barron?

Taoiseach: The Deputy has made his point. I can pass on his comments to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform or the Deputy can table a question to the Minister. I will pass on what he said but this motion asks the Dáil to extend the period in which the committee can report back to the House as it has scheduled more meetings and analysis. That is all I ask, but I will pass on the Deputy's comments.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Will the Taoiseach indicate that this should be investigated?

The Taoiseach: I will certainly pass it on.

The Dáil passed a motion extending to 1 April the time for the Oireachtas Committee examining the Barron Inquiry to report to the Dáil.

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