24 January 2002 Edition
Barron to probe Blayney bombing and John Francis Green killing
Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has received a letter from the Taoiseach confirming that the 1976 bombing of Castleblayney in which Patrick Mone was murdered and the assassination in 1975 of John Francis Green will be addressed in the Report of the inquiry of Judge Barron.
While the main focus of the Barron Inquiry, when first established, was the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of May 1974, relatives of victims in other incidents in the Border Counties lobbied for inclusion. As in the Dublin/Monaghan bombings, collusion between British forces and loyalists is suspected in the Castleblayney bombing and British forces crossed the Border to kill John Francis Green in County Monaghan. Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has repeatedly raised the need to include the Green and Mone cases. He said:
"By letter to the Taoiseach and on the floor of the Dáil I have repeatedly urged that the Castleblayney bombing of 1976 and the murder of John Francis Green should be covered by the Barron inquiry. The news that they will now be reflected in the Report is positive and places these cases firmly on the agenda. At last a light is being shone on the acts of collusion in that period between the British forces and loyalists and the impact it had on County Monaghan and the Border Counties."
Collusion highlighted as Assembly debates Dublin/Monaghan bombings
Mitchel McLaughlin drew attention this week to the evidence of collusion between British Intelligence and loyalists in an Assembly debate on the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings. He said:
"In the context of a conflict resolution process, it is important that we examine the clear evidence relating to many incidents, particularly multiple killings by loyalist gangs that were later shown to have been penetrated, and sometimes controlled, by RUC Special Branch or British military intelligence. The Dublin and Monaghan bombings are a particularly horrific example of that.
"Other examples are easily brought to mind, and the current controversy over the investigation - if it is appropriate to call it that - into the Omagh bombing shows that a hidden hand is at work. Republican, nationalist and, in particular, ynionist representatives must address that dimension of the 'dirty war' in Ireland, because without it there can never be full reconciliation, closure or peace.
"These events happened almost 28 years ago. Since then, strenuous efforts have been made to understand the inexplicable failure to follow through on available evidence and to examine the precision that had never been demonstrated before or since by the UVF gang that claimed responsibility and which subsequently claimed to have acted on its own. That happened despite evidence from court records at the time, and for a long time afterwards, that the gang had been penetrated by British military intelligence.
"Why did the authorities in the 26 Counties fail to confront and deal with this suppression of information? Why was the Garda inquiry wound down within three months? It is significant that when the Omagh investigation is scrutinised, exactly the same pattern emerges. First, there is an initial response, when the government appear to act with authority and urgency and resources are poured into the investigation. Subsequently, that turns out to have been a façade, important information has been suppressed and in some instances important evidence has been destroyed. After much propaganda and publicity, the investigation is substantially wound down.
"In the case of Dublin and Monaghan, there is a linkage to the difficulties that are now confronting those who are bringing forward arguments for full accountability and transparency. The answer is to be found in exposing, once and for all, the role of British military intelligence and the RUC Special Branch in the manipulation of those Loyalist death squads over that period of time."