29 April 1999 Edition

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Dublin/Monaghan bombings cover-up

BY SEAN BRADY

     
The actions of the gardai and the RUC have left many people, particularly the families of those killed, with the conclusion that a major cover-up of the truth behind the bombings has been in operation for the past 25 years
The Garda Special Branch, it emerged last weekend, is looking at fresh claims by a former RUC man that his colleagues in British military intelligence and the Ulster Defence Regiment were behind the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974, the worst single act of violence in the past 30 years of conflict.

British military involvement in the massacre, which was later claimed by the UVF, has long been suspected. Several analysts, including a former Garda Commissioner and a former head of the British army's bomb disposal network, have openly voiced doubts about the UVF's capability in 1974 to mount such an attack without professional assistance.

Moreover, the actions of the gardai and the RUC have left many people, particularly the families of those killed, with the conclusion that a major cover-up of the truth behind the bombings has been in operation for the past 25 years.

Within a week of the bombings, the gardai had drawn up a list of eight prime suspects- all UVF members from Portadown, County Armagh. This information was given to the RUC, who it appears did little or nothing in the way of follow-up inquiries.

The suspects included members of the crown forces in the Six Counties, at least one RUC Special Branch agent and all had close links with British military intelligence.

New material which has reached solicitors representing families of the victims, names a British military intelligence officer who supplied the explosives and an RUC officer whose home was allegedly used to assemble the bombs. The material has been passed on to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Garda Commissioner Pat Byrne. The evidence indicates that four of the prime suspects in the bombings are still alive and are known to the RUC.

The issue of whether the RUC made any attempt to cooperate with the investigation can only be verified by examing the Garda files. Requests by the victims' families to see these files have been continuously refused and legal efforts to gain access to them have been vigorously fought in Dublin's High Court and Supreme Court.

     
There has been a shift in the campaign in recent months. Relatives, not satisfied at just seeking to know the identities of those who carried out the atrocities, are now demanding public accountability around the manner in which the 26-County security and political authorities handled the murders.
In 1993, journalist Frank Doherty revealed that important forensic evidence from the bombings was mysteriously sent to Belfast for analysis. There has been no explanation for this, given that there was an Irish state laboratory capable of carrying out its own detailed analysis at the time. Forensic scientist Dr. James Donovan, who worked in the state laboratory at the time, has said that he felt shunned by the manner in which important evidence was ``whipped away from us to another jursidiction''.

There has been a shift in the campaign in recent months. Relatives, not satisfied at just seeking to know the identities of those who carried out the atrocities, are now demanding public accountability around the manner in which the 26-County security and political authorities handled the murders.

Anger and frustration greeted a recent pronouncement from 26-County Minister for Justice John O'Donoghue ruling out a Tribunal of Inquiry into the bombings, which seemed to confirm suspicions of Irish state complicity in a cover-up.

Relatives of those killed and injured in the bombings held a meeting with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern at government buildings on Thursday, 22 April, at which the feelings of the relatives were communicated in a very direct way. Ahern agreed to work constructively with the families and in contrast to the statement of his justice minister did not rule out a Tribunal of Inquiry. It was also agreed that the Dublin/Monaghan Bombings Committee would establish a working group to liaise with officials from the Taoiseach's Department to see how the situation can be advanced.

The campaign to get to the truth about the bombings is now running in several countries. As well as the Irish people killed, nationals from two other EU states fell victim to the bombers. Simone Chetrit, a young French-Jewish woman, was blown up on Talbot Street, while Antonio Maglicco, a young Italian man, was killed outside his brother's fish and chip shop on Parnell Street. The campaign has been working to garner support in Italy and among the Jewish community in Paris

Monaghan Urban District Council is to mark the 25th anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. At its meeting on 19 April, the council adopted a motion in the names of the three Sinn Féin Councillors - Owen Smyth, Pádraigín Uí Mhurchadha and Caoimhghín O Caoláin TD, urging a suitable memorial event.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1
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