30 September 1999 Edition
Private inquiry into Dublin/Monaghan bombings
O Caoláin maintains inquiry should be public
Bertie Ahern announced in Leinster House on Wednesday that the Cabinet has decided to establish a privately conducted inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. The announcement came in answer to a question to the Taoiseach from Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín O Caoláin on the resumption of the Dáil this week.
The demands of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings relatives and survivors group Justice for the Forgotten has been for a judicial inquiry conducted in public. The report of the Victims Commission under former Tánaiste John Wilson recommended an inquiry conducted privately by a retired Supreme Court judge. Bertie Ahern confirmed in his reply to Deputy O Caoláin that this is the course to be taken by the government.
Thirty-three people were killed in the bombings in Dublin and Monaghan in May 1974. There is strong evidence that the operation was a result of British intelligence/loyalist collusion. Lawyers for Justice for the Forgotten handed a dossier of evidence to the Taoiseach personally earlier this year.
Caoimhghín O Caoláin asked the Taoiseach to ``recognise the distress of the surviving and bereaved relatives of victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, and of the family of Seamus Ludlow, and their deep disappointment at the section in the Report of the Victims Commission recommending privately conducted inquiries into these cases''. The Sinn Féin TD asked if one of the reasons for resistance to a public inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings was fear of public scrutiny of Garda/British intelligence contacts at the time.
In his forthcoming book on the Dublin/Monaghan bombings, Don Mullan exposes the work of Garda Detective John `the Badger' McCoy for British intelligence, including the fact that he accompanied MI5 agent Major Peter Maynard, who was based in Portadown, where the bombers are believed to have came from, on a visit to a senior Irish Army officer in Dublin just three months after the bombings. Given the strong evidence of British intelligence involvement in the bombings and the contacts between them and gardaí, Mullan asks if this is the real brake on establishing a public inquiry.
Bertie Ahern replied to O Caoláin that there was insufficient evidence to risk a public inquiry. Deputy O Caoláin responded: ``There is more evidence than you suggest, Taoiseach.''
The Sinn Féin TD said later that he shared the disappointment of Justice for the Forgotten and that all must now continue to work to ensure that there was a thorough investigation and that the full truth emerged.