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16 May 2002 Edition

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Dublin/Monaghan victim calls for Saville-type inquiry

Edward O'Neill, whose father was among 33 people killed by loyalist car bombs in Dublin and Monaghan, called on Tuesday for a public inquiry based on the Saville Inquiry into Bloody Sunday.

O'Neill, who had travelled to Derry's Guildhall to watch the proceedings of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, said he had lost faith in the current inquiry by Justice Henry Barron. He was among a group of relatives and victims of the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings who met relatives of those killed on Bloody Sunday in 1972 and in the 1998 Omagh bombing. They intend to form a loose support group to put pressure on the authorities in London, Dublin and Belfast.

O'Neill still has shrapnel embedded in his head, leg and elbow as a result of the car bomb that exploded in Dublin on 17 May 1974. His father Edward was killed instantly and his mother Martha suffered the stillbirth of her seven-month-old baby in the months following the attack.

O'Neill says that he does not believe the Barron Inquiry will succeed in determining the truth behind claims that British security services colluded with loyalists to plant the bombs.

"The Irish government are not interested," he said. "We had 33 people die, and not one arrest, not one person questioned, not one person ever charged.

"I am sure Mr Justice Barron is an honourable man but I have no confidence in the Barron Inquiry. While I am not questioning his integrity I believe he will not be allowed to investigate the bombings properly.

"What I would like to see is the establishment of a public inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. I cannot see that we are ever going to get this level of transparency."

Justice Barron is set to report in the autumn after recently receiving what Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern called an "enormous amount" of security files from the British authorities.


Bloody Sunday families walk out

Sinn Féin Assembly member Mitchel McLaughlin has lent his support to the Bloody Sunday families and wounded after they walked out of the Guildhall on Wednesday in protest at the screening of RUC witnesses at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry.

"It is a disgrace that RUC officers who have given evidence in open court over the past 30 years are skulking into and out of the Guildhall beneath blankets and behind screens," said McLaughlin.

"Now, in an Inquiry that the British Prime Minister promised would be open, transparent and public, we have the disgraceful picture of RUC officers giving evidence from behind screens.

"These screens have nothing to do with fictious and non-existent threats and everything to do with smearing the relatives and wounded. The relatives have repeatedly said that no one should be under threat attending the Inquiry.

"Indeed, the only threat that currently exists is the threat to the Inquiry posed by the concerted attempts by the British military establishment to undermine it.


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