20 May 2010 Edition
Dublin and Monaghan bombings, 1974: Survivors' group appeals to Fianna Fáil and Greens to restore axed funding
Don’t let them be forgotten again
BY MÍCHEÁL Mac DONNCHA
THE sadness of the 36th anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings was compounded this week by the continuing refusal of the Irish Government to restore funding to ‘Justice for the Forgotten’, the group which represents the survivors and the bereaved of this and other fatal acts of collusion in the 26 Counties.
Families and friends gathered on Monday in Dublin’s Talbot Street at the memorial, facing Connolly Rail Station, which bears the names of the 33 people, including a pregnant woman, killed on May 17th 1974 by car bombs in Talbot Street itself, Parnell Street, South Leinster Street, and in Monaghan town.
It was the biggest loss of life on a single day during the entire conflict in Ireland since 1969 yet the Garda closed the investigation in a matter of weeks and successive Irish governments neglected the families and did nothing to pursue the British Government. The bombing was carried out by a unionist death squad with which British crown forces were colluding.
It was only when Justice for the Forgotten was established that the Irish Government was forced to take notice.
While the basic demand for a full public inquiry was not conceded, investigations were commissioned by the Oireachtas, under the late Justice Henry Barron, and these highlighted significant indications of British collusion. Families were also assisted by Justice for the Forgotten as the dead were at last remembered fittingly.
Last year, however, the Fianna Fáil/Green Government ended funding for Justice for the Forgotten. This was very much in people’s minds as we gathered on Monday at the memorial. Justice for the Forgotten Chairperson Bernadette McNally, herself an injured survivor of one of the Dublin bombs, demanded on behalf of the families that funding be restored.
Wreaths were laid on behalf of Dublin City Council and Monaghan Town Council whose Cathaoirleach, Councillor Seán Conlon (Sinn Féin), addressed the event. He said:
“It is with great regret that we note the decision of the current government to end funding for Justice for the Forgotten. This is a totally unacceptable decision.
“I take this opportunity to call on Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform Dermot Ahern to immediately restore funding so that Justice for the Forgotten can continue to work with and on behalf of the families in the search for truth and justice. I make this call on behalf of Monaghan Town Council which passed a motion urging the restoration of funding at its April meeting.
“It seems that An Taoiseach Brian Cowen, in particular, has demonstrated little interest and less activity in this key legacy issue of the conflict.
“My colleague, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, has repeatedly called on Taoiseach Brian Cowen in the Dáil to take a proactive approach with the British Government. In particular, we have called for the Taoiseach to press the British Government on the all-party motion passed by the Dáil in July 2008 which called on the British government to allow access by an independent, international judicial figure to all original documents held by the British Government relating to the atrocities that occurred in this jurisdiction and which were inquired into by Judge Barron.
“I again call on the Taoiseach to take a proactive approach with the new British government. And I emphasise the importance of restoring funding to Justice for the Forgotten.”
Relatives of the bomb victims at the ceremony