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18 November 2004 Edition

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British stonewall another collusion inquiry

The British Government refused to co-operate with the inquiry by Judge Henry Barron into bombings in the 26 Counties that took place in 1972 and 1973 and in which collusion is strongly indicated. The second Barron report was published on Wednesday and, like the first, which focused on the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings, reveals that there was no co-operation with the inquiry.

Commenting on the second Barron Report, Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the British Government must be forced to co-operate with inquiries on collusion. He said the British are abusing their special relationship with the Dublin Government in order to avoid international accountability for their actions in Ireland. He said:

"The Irish Government should not stand for this and should bring the issue of collusion before the court of world opinion.

"This report once more highlights the devastating results of British terror in Ireland. From the beginning of the conflict in 1969, the British Government's forces carried out attacks in the 26 Counties directly and through their loyalist paramilitary surrogates. The December 1972 bombing of Sackville Place in Dublin, which claimed the lives of two bus workers, was clearly designed to swing public opinion and the Oireachtas towards repressive measures. The Government of the time allowed British terror to succeed when it passed draconian amendments to the Offences Against the State Act. The co-ordinated bombings of Clones, Pettigoe and Belturbet, where two teenagers died, were part of the same effort to change policy in this State. So also was the second Sackville Place bombing in January 1973 in which one bus worker was killed.

"The British Government failed to co-operate with the first Barron Report on the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974. They refused the invitation of the Oireachtas Committee, which held hearings on that report. They have failed to act on the call of that Committee, unanimously backed by the Oireachtas, to establish a form of inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. They have failed to have a resolution to this effect passed in the Houses of Parliament as recommended by the Oireachtas Committee.

"It is well known that the Littlejohn brothers were British agents who carried out actions in this State designed to place the blame on republicans and to provoke a repressive response. They were convicted and their links with members of the Garda Special Branch were also exposed at the time. This was only the tip of the iceberg of British covert action in the 26 Counties in the period covered by this report by Judge Barron. The British must come clean."

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