TRANSCRIPTS OF OUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE JOINT OIREACHTAS SUB COMMITTEE
ON THE BARRON REPORT INTO THE DUBLIN & MONAGHAN BOMBINGS
Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights
Dé Máirt, 20 Eanáir 2004 - Tuesday, 20 January 2004
Public Hearing on the Barron Report
Chairman: Before we hear the stories of the victims and the relatives of the bereaved families, I want to say that the purpose is to hear the stories of the suffering and bereavements as a result of the atrocities. It is important to bear in mind that we are not able to apportion blame or individual responsibility as that is outside our terms of reference. I ask the witnesses to help us in that regard when making contributions.
I thank John Byrne, Bridget Fitzpatrick and Pat Fay for attending. You are all very welcome. Would John Byrne like to begin?
Mr. John Byrne: I will talk about the Parnell Street bombing. I was living in Lower Gardiner Street at the time. I was married with a son. What I remember is that the evening was lovely. It was 17 May, the anniversary of the death of my father in law. That evening, when I was in my flat having a cup of tea, my wife asked me to get the paper so that she could read her father's anniversary notice. I went to Parnell Street and bought a paper from a woman who was a newsvendor outside Kilmartin's betting office. When I got the paper, I was going to go into the Welcome Inn or the Metro public house. I used to go into the Welcome Inn for an occasional pint but decided this time to go into the Metro. I went there, sat at the top of the counter and ordered a pint. I began reading the paper and the anniversary notice. Within minutes there was a dreadful explosion. I was sitting on a stool and was blasted off it, hurting my back. The front of the pub then came crashing in. There were a couple of customers in the pub and just as they were walking out I urged them to go down to the back, by the toilet. I half-crawled back down to the toilet. I did not want to go out in case there was another explosion. The customers did as I suggested. I was in total shock at the time.
Within a minute we came out of the pub. When I looked around there was complete devastation. Shop fronts had been blown out. The worst atrocity was at the Welcome Inn. Bodies were lying on the ground and cars were wrecked. There was smoke billowing out of buildings. I stayed on the scene for only a minute or so. I feared for my wife and son where we were living, as strange cars used to park outside the flat. Just as I got to the junction of Parnell Street and O'Connell Street, the Talbot Street bomb went off. I went back to the flat. I was devastated and in shock. My wife was after saying to me, "What happened to you?" I told her, "I was caught up in the bomb." My wife was thrown aside with my son in the flat we were living in by the devastation in Talbot Street. I will never forget them; it will never leave me. The sound of the bomb will never leave my head. I was completely devastated. My working life was destroyed. I suffered terrible trauma and shock. I have been attending hospitals for the last 28 years. I am still attending today. I am still on medication even to this present day, 28 years later. That is how I feel about the bombing which will never leave me. That is my summing up of the bombing.
Chairman: John, thank you very much for your story. I appreciate that.
Ms Bridget Fitzpatrick: On 17 May, at 5.25 p.m., I was in the middle of the road on Parnell Street with two of my sons. I was after coming out of a shop on Parnell Street called Hamills with my seven year old son's Communion clothes under my arm. I had my other son, Tommy, who was five and a half, by the other hand and I got a bang of a 250 pound bomb into the side of my face. The only way I could describe it to everybody here is that it was like as if a bus had hit me on the side of the face. I remember my head going over. I was facing the garage that that chap, Derek Byrne, worked in. I can only describe it as that the garage was coming out into my face and a baby's pram was going up over it.
On impact I ran with my two sons. I had been working in the Rotunda Hospital. I had been in there a few months before when I had diabetes and lost a baby boy in a full-term birth. I remember my little five and a half year old, Tommy, who is now deceased, screaming, "Mammy, mammy, stop, the bomb got me in the leg." I do not know what you call it but I was running through a few feet of glass and thick yellow and grey smoke which was like a wall that I could not get through with my two little boys. I just knew I had to run and could not fall because my children needed me - I was their ma.
When I got to the Bank of Ireland on O'Connell Street, I could see to the right of my eyes visions of young girls and people screaming. "Stop, stop that woman, look at her" but nobody could stop me until I got to the Rotunda because that was a safe place for me because I was after having my eighth child there and I worked in it as well. When I got to the door of the Rotunda, this doctor was coming out and I said, "Doctor, doctor, help me and my children." He said, "There are people who are worse off up the road, go in." I did that. When I took my hand away, there were clots everywhere on it. I got inside and held onto the counter. I felt something sticking in my back and pulled out a lump of tin which was in my lung.
I was brought into the emergency department. My little boy, Tommy, had two parts of his legs stitched. My other son, Derek, did not get stitches and I was anointed a few hours later. A doctor came from the Richmond Hospital and asked me if I had ever heard of a perforated eardrum. I said, "I did but, doctor, I don't care if my hearing is gone. Will you, please, let me go home to my other five children?" I could hear my two sons outside saying, "We want our ma, we want our ma." The nurses in the Rotunda brought them over to the shop and bought them Rolos and Crunchies. How could I forget? I just kept saying to them, "I am all right," but for three hours there were sheets being taken from under my lung and clots popping out of me. The doctor came from the Richmond and told me that I had a perforated eardrum and punctured lung. Anyway, it came to pass that the priest came from Marlborough Street Church and anointed me. I said, "Father am I going to die? My kids." He said, "No, you will be okay." I have never been okay to this day.
I went home with a big bandage around my leg holding my two lovely boys. I marched up Sean McDermott Street where I am proud to say I live. There were lovely, decent people living on it - neighbours. About 500 people from all the flats and the houses cheered me and my two sons up the street. When I got home, I did not know where I was, naturally. Three big men - I reckon they were from the Government - came to my home and apologised to me. They said they were very sorry for what had happened to me. My brother brought me to Artane where he lived. I thanked the men and that was the end of it.
I was told in the Rotunda Hospital that it was only a maternity hospital and that it was sorry but that I was to bring my two children to Temple Street the next morning and that I was to go to the Mater Hospital, which I did. I stayed in Artane with my brother Paddy and I brought my seven children with me. My eldest daughter, Lily, who is sitting over there, had to help me get through life and with the kids because my husband left me as I was not real woman any more. I worried about my children. I overprotected them; thank God I did. I went to the Mater Hospital where I was told I would be deaf before I was 40 years of age. I have suffered from a balance disorder since. I have not been in town for 15 or more years and I have not been on a bus for nearly 20 years. I do not go shopping; I do not go anywhere. I just live on my nerves.
My son, Tommy, died. He went on his first holiday in the sun at 29 years of age and suffered a heart attack in the swimming pool in Santa Ponsa. My other son has been in every hospital one could name. He has tried to commit suicide. I am a broken mother but I love my children so much. We are real people. I am here to tell you all about my sons and my poor daughter who had to leave school to help me because my husband did not want to know. That is my side of the story. I was never treated for my injuries. I never knew what to do. I did not get time to think about it because I had to rear my children. I am not looking for sympathy; I am looking for justice for people like me.
I do not sleep very well, so I listen to Newstalk 106 when I am awake during the night. I have heard people say this is hardly worth bothering about and that it is 30 years since the bombing happened. It happened to me and I lost my family. My marriage failed and I had to live in very bad circumstances, although I do not care about money anyway - I am not talking about that. I had to struggle with my seven children and I did not get any help from anywhere. Nobody knocked on my door to ask us if we were okay, which we were not. I am still not okay. God bless you all and thanks for listening to me.
Chairman: Bridget, thank you very much. That was very touching. We did not really know what was happening when we hear your story.
Mr. Pat Fay: My name is Pat Fay. I was quite touched by Bridget who has been shaking and it has had a slight effect on me. It brought back what happened 30 years ago when my father was murdered beside where Bridget was on Parnell Street. I lived in London at the time and I came back the next morning to identify my father in the morgue, something with which I have had to live all these years. Up to about five or six years ago, I never really discussed it or spoke to anybody about it because it was my suffering and was within me. It haunted me for a long time but now I can speak about it. Nobody knows what it is like to go into a morgue, to literally climb over bodies, arms and people blown to pieces and to go up to a slab and look at what is left of one's father. I was never able to say this before but I am now because I feel the only way we are going to get justice is for people to know what actually happened to us and the suffering we have had to go through to beg for what we, as human beings, are entitled to in a democracy. My mother died the same day; she was never the same woman. She was given so many drugs and so on. She was driven half way around the twist from the amount of medicine she was given to calm her down. It was ridiculous.
I have two children in London. I came back to this country seven years ago. I had a guilt complex because my daughter, in particular, kept asking who killed Grandad and if I did anything about it. I could not give her an honest answer or say that I had done this, that or the other. However, since I have returned the legal people and the rest of our group have done great work in trying to get justice for what was done to my father and the other people.
The Barron report highlighted the injustice that was done. At last I can talk to my daughter, who comes over here regularly - my son is a lot younger and he does not quite realise what happened - and give her an answer which makes her feel proud and think that I am doing something about it. I feel good in a sense because the guilt is eased by my participating in the campaign.
There are a couple of things I would like to say. It is ironic that the Government of the day abandoned my mother and the rest of the people. I was travelling back and forward and did not really understand the extent of what was happening until I became involved in the campaign. To think that a Government would be allowed to do what it did and to get away with it or that high ranking members of the Garda could do the same-----
Chairman: I am delighted that Mr. Fay is telling his story but individuals could be identified by what he is saying.
Mr. Fay: I am sorry.
Chairman: I am in a difficult position and I ask him to help me out.
Mr. Fay: There must be a public inquiry. I am not begging for it because we are entitled to it. There is no other way for us to proceed other than by having a public inquiry so that this matter can be brought to a conclusion, once and for all.
Chairman: I thank Mr. Fay for telling his story. Does Deputy Hoctor wish to comment or pose any questions?
Deputy Hoctor: I also acknowledge the bravery of the people before the committee this morning in terms of the way in which they have related their stories. I do not know whether Derek and John Byrne are related-----
Mr. D. Byrne: We are not related.
Deputy Hoctor: -----but they were both nearby on the day of the bombings. Mr. John Byrne stated that the trauma is with him today and that it has affected his life. How does it impact on both men in their daily lives in 2004? I understand that they are receiving medication and medical assistance. Perhaps each of them will answer my question in their own ways.
Mr. J. Byrne: My work career was destroyed. I have been attending two hospitals, the Meath and Beaumont. The trauma I suffered is still with me today. When I am lying down at night the sound of the bomb occasionally comes at me. That will never leave me. It is a day I will never forget because my whole life was destroyed. We are only here today as a result of the work of the legal team and Justice for the Forgotten. Were it not for that work, we would be forgotten. We want those who killed the 33 people who died that day to be brought to justice. I think we should be entitled to a public inquiry. As Pat Fay said, it is disgraceful.
I have been devastated by the trauma, etc, that I suffered. What happened that day will never leave my head. Nothing will ever compensate me for what occurred. We just want justice to be done and a public inquiry to be held. The victims, particularly those who were killed, and their relatives are entitled to that. At least I am here to tell my story. The relatives, people who lost loved ones, are not here. Some people who attended meetings held by Justice for the Forgotten have died in the meantime. It is great for me and some of the other victims that we receive counselling and therapy. Without the legal team and Justice for the Forgotten, we would not be here today. We want a public inquiry, and we will fight until we get it.
Mr. D. Byrne: I was asked what is it like in 2004. I just have to look at my body and see the scars that I have been carrying for nearly 30 years. On the same thing, I used to play soccer. When I was 15, I had to give that up. Mentally it is there all the time. I do not think that anything would be able to block it out. However, the public inquiry might help. All we are looking for is truth and justice, and we are entitled to that as citizens of this State.
Deputy Hoctor: Perhaps I might direct a question to Ms Fitzpatrick. I thank her for her testimony here this morning. How is Derek now?
Ms Fitzpatrick: He is very bothered. He is in the clinic in the North Strand now for his medication. I think he is on 14 tablets a day. He does not live with me. He has his own apartment. He is a very sick chap. I can put it to the committee this way: of my two sons, Derek became an extrovert and Tommy became an introvert. Derek went on the wild side of life, although not with drugs. Three times my door was knocked on by someone who told me that he was attempting to kill himself. Derek will never be well again as far as I am concerned, and neither will his mother, but what can you do?
Deputy Costello: I also welcome everyone and thank them for attending voluntarily to give their side of the story. I am sure they have waited a long time to have an opportunity to say all this in public. Considering the trauma, to be able to talk about it takes a great deal of courage.
I lived and worked in the general area at the time. I taught in North Great George's Street, and one of my students was hospitalised as a result of the Parnell Street bombing. I have an idea of the enormous devastation and trauma caused. I have watched over the years how much work has been done, and I compliment all those before us on the campaign, the organisation and the commemoration. I am sure that every year that goes by they wait for a solution to the problem. This is part of the process.
Have all those who have just spoken - Ms Fitzpatrick, Mr. John Byrne and Mr. Fay - spoken to Mr. Justice Henry Barron and have statements been made? What contact have they had with the Barron inquiry? Perhaps Ms Fitzpatrick might begin.
Ms Fitzpatrick: The only time that we saw him, he was speaking about taking over the inquiry from the other justice at the time. He did not speak to me or anyone else individually as far as I know.
Deputy Costello: Did Ms Fitzpatrick have any contact with the inquiry team by writing or in person?
Ms Fitzpatrick: No, only the letters that I got from our solicitors.
Deputy Costello: Did she make a personal statement for the legal team?
Ms Fitzpatrick: I do not know. I do not think so. I know that I put my story in Don Mullan's book, The Dublin and Monaghan Bombings. That is the only statement that I can remember ever making.
Deputy Costello: For example, she said - I will not go into the details - that three big men arrived after the bombing. She stated that regarding the inquiry, and Mr. Justice Barron is aware of that.
Ms Fitzpatrick: They apologised for what happened to us. I thanked them, and that was the end of it.
Deputy Costello: Does anyone else wish to say anything about their contact with the Barron inquiry? Has anyone had any direct contact or has it been through their legal representatives?
Ms A. O'Brien: It has been through the office with Margaret, Greg and Cormac. We had no direct contact ourselves but anything that has happened or statements we have made have been through the office. Mr. Justice Barron would have got everything he needed from the office of Margaret, Greg and Cormac.
That is the same with everybody else.
Mr. Fay: He was the last person to see my father alive.
Deputy Costello: Mr. Derek Byrne said he actually died in the morgue at the time.
Mr. D. Byrne: I was pronounced dead on arrival at Jervis Street Hospital and I was put in the morgue. It seems I woke up and they brought me up to the operating theatre. Fr. Paul Lavelle, the priest from Lourdes church, found me. I was found that Monday in Jervis Street. The papers reported that I was dead that Saturday morning.
Deputy Costello: What period of time?
Mr. D. Byrne: Whatever time the paper was printed - the Irish Press on that Saturday, 18 May.
Deputy Costello: For what period of time was Mr. Byrne in the morgue before anyone knew about it?
Mr. D. Byrne: I do not know.
Deputy Costello: That must have had an incredible effect.
Mr. D. Byrne: It still has because I wake up with nightmares and the whole lot. It will never leave me.
Deputy Costello: Will Ms O'Brien describe the continuing impact and effects of this ongoing issue on her wider family and those of Mr. Byrne and Ms Fitzpatrick?
Ms A. O'Brien: I find it has a bad effect on the survivors. I feel for them when Hallowe'en comes and someone lets off a banger because I imagine they think it is another bomb. They are still attending the hospital. I know Anna and her family died, but I think I would prefer that than having to go through years of going to hospitals and not getting help. The survivors are the ones who are suffering. I know my mother suffered because she was her child and she went through suffering year after year.
Bernie McNally is another girl involved in the campaign and when October comes around each year and the bangers go off, she nearly jumps out of her skin. I would say they are really affected by things like that. I have been with Derek in Derry and we stayed there overnight. Derek had a nightmare and he was devastated. We were there and he did not know it. That was only around four or five years ago. It still affected him then. It came back to him when he was in Derry and he had a nightmare.
Deputy Costello: It is clearly very live with the survivors and families all the time.
Deputy Hoctor: Has Ms Fitzpatrick clearly established who were the three men who visited her house afterwards? Does she know to this day who they were and who they represented?
Ms Fitzpatrick: No. When I say "big men", I mean tall. They were very sincere and were apologising to me for what happened. I was in a state, as I told the committee. I just said "It is okay, thanks".
People here are saying they are attending hospitals. I never went anywhere. I have lived with my injuries - a perforated eardrum, punctured lung, a brain injury and two holes at the back of my left knee. I have very bad health at the moment because of all these complaints. I wish to God I was well and had my family the way I had it that day. I am sorry if I am rambling. I became afraid of going to doctors. I was 29 when I had my eighth child and I was never afraid to go to a doctor for anything. I have neglected my health for 30 years and I am still neglecting it today because I live in fear. I am sorry but I do not know any other way to put it. I am not going anywhere because I am too afraid.
Why did nobody come to us and ask us how we were? I was just an ordinary mother. I went to a national school but I was in no way stupid; I was brainy. I knew that somebody should have knocked on my door and asked me how were my children. My eldest daughter, Lily, is here and I had to take her out of school because I was not capable of looking after her six brothers and sisters as I was so nervous. I lay awake for three years with a pain in my lung and a pain in my ear. I had a husband who beat me stupid - I do not want this to go out in public - any time he looked at me.
Chairman: You need to be careful.
Ms B. Fitzpatrick:
Thank you. I am sorry, I did not mean to say that. I lived between two
walls. Please disregard the last comment but I could not do anything right
in my life. We are real people and I am here now to take up for everybody.
Ms Alice O'Brien's sister lived around the corner from me and I had to
go through my life looking at a baby's pram going up in front of my eyes.
It only took a split second but it happened to me. Her little niece was
found on the roof of The Welcome Inn with a soother in her mouth the next
morning. The other baby was found that night.
Chairman: Ms Fitzpatrick is brave as this is difficult and painful for her. I thank all the witnesses for telling us their stories. Six more witnesses will now tell their stories. I welcome Mr. Liam Sullivan, Mr. Kevin O'Loughlin, Mr. Edward Roice, Mr. John Molloy, Ms Marie Power and Mr. Frank Massey. They are victims and relatives of victims of the Parnell Street bombing. I ask Marie Power to begin.
Ms Marie Power:
I am here today on behalf of my father, my two brothers and my two sisters.
One of my sisters is here with me. My sister, Breda, died in the Parnell
Street bombings and that Friday evening changed all our lives. We did
not have a telephone at the time and when the news flash came on the television
I went down to a public telephone to ring her to see if she was all right.
There was no answer. Then I rang her boyfriend who said to leave it with
him and he would try to contact her. That was it. Later on that night
the Garda came.
Breda was in a flat
in Dublin. The landlord contacted my stepbrother later on in the evening
to see if they could identify her in one of the hospitals, which they
did. We never saw Breda. If one loses someone and one sees them, at least
it is something. Breda was younger than me. She had gone to Dublin to
work and she was always bringing home treats for the younger ones. Christmas
was a horrible time because back in 1974 Christmas was really Christmas
and everything one got was a novelty. My parents and the rest of us got
through Christmases but they were lonesome times. I never thought she
was really gone until I saw her memorial card. That was when I really
knew she was not coming back. She was 21, engaged to be married and had
her whole life in front of her. She was to have been my bridesmaid the
following March. We had to get through that day and many more without
Mr. John Molloy: On 17 May 1974 I was a pre-leaving certificate student, about to sit my exams in June. I happened to be studying in a library in Capel Street at the time, more or less to get silence and to absorb my work for the exams. I left the library and went into town, going to the GPO and posting one or two letters I had already written. I ventured into Parnell Street some time after 5.30 p.m. and became involved in the Parnell Street bombings.
What I experienced on that day has never left me up to this present day, simply because I am still suffering the trauma and effects of what I witnessed, what I experienced and what I went through. I am attending counselling at present which, thankfully, the Government is providing for the victims. It has done me immense good. I was at the end of the road until the counselling came about.
I was taken to Jervis Street Hospital. Before that, the carnage I saw on the roads in Parnell Street was totally diabolical. I felt I was looking into hell from what I saw. People were lying on the roads moaning, with bits of pieces of bodies here and there. Some people were sitting in upright positions and constantly moaning. I also witnessed the emergency services in action, and our local clergy administering the last rites to those people who were very seriously injured or dead.
I happened to be standing on the road and witnessing all this in severe traumatic shock when a hand was placed on my shoulder to tell me that I had to be brought to a hospital. At that time I did not realise I was injured. All I could remember was repeating the words "I am OK." A man from St. John's Ambulance told me that I had a leg injury and had to have hospital attention, so I was brought to Jervis Street Hospital. When I got there I witnessed the roars and the screams. I also witnessed the great work that the medical staff did at that time, including doctors, nurses and all people connected to the hospital.
I was waiting for a time to be seen to as I was listed as having a minor injury. Sometime later I was taken behind curtains and was stitched up, as one would say, and I was in the observation room for sometime after before being allowed to go home in the early hours of the morning. For some reason I felt that I had to go back to the scene. At that time I lived on North Great George's Street. I went back to the scene at two o'clock or three o'clock in the morning, and since then, I have never felt such an air of solitude and calm.
I saw police officers on top of buildings and with white or black plastic bags to take up debris, and perhaps parts of bodies, I do not know. For three years after I found myself house bound. I feared to go out and did not leave my home because of the shock, although I did pursue the leaving certificate examinations two or three weeks after for the simple purpose of finalising what I had set out to do. I remember going into the examination rooms in the College of Commerce Rathmines. I never mentioned anything to my colleagues, students or teachers about being involved with the bombings. I just remained silent.
I sat down to do my leaving certificate examinations but all I could do was look at empty papers. That was basically it. I then found myself then at home. My 21st birthday was in 1974 and I celebrated it at home in isolation, suffering from post-traumatic shock and all that went with it. Times were hard then because I was living with my mother, and things got harder. One day a letter came addressed to me. I opened it, and it was from the criminal injuries tribunal board that had been set up by the Government some time after the bombings. The envelope contained a short letter and an enclosed cheque for £50. The letter, if I can remember clearly, stated: "Sign this and you can never go back on this again as regards injury claims." If I am not mistaken, it was signed by a Desmond O'Driscoll.
However, time passed and I felt I had to get myself going or I would crack up completely. I was with a doctor who asked me how things were and I said I was unemployed and felt I wanted to get some work, and he asked if I would take a job in a hospital. I went to see the personnel officer and I got work in St. Luke's Hospital in Rathgar in February 1977. It was there, when I started working, that I realised there was another body of people that was going through crisis, namely those who are terminally ill. Through working with them over the years I got some strength in so far as, you might say, two fires put each other out. Through the care and attention there, I felt I was getting a little inner strength to continue and forget my own problems.
About seven or eight years ago I read in a newspaper about Justice for the Forgotten looking for anybody who had been involved with the bombings in some way and my first thought was what a noble cause it was and to get in there and find out what had been going on. I was astonished and amazed at what I saw, the determination to work towards getting to the truth of what happened to us.
After a certain time,
I found myself on the executive and travelling here and there, particularly
to places in Northern Ireland. On 20 January 2000, I found myself in the
Stormont offices and debating chambers looking for papers to assist us
with our inquiry. I found the people there very pleasant and co-operative
and I sensed there was an air of movement, both North and South, in dealing
with the political divide.
Realising all this, I then came up with some questions. Basically, we found ourselves blocked in. The questions were why the investigations at the time were so limited and what stopped-----
Chairman: We are not dealing with the inquiry now, unfortunately; just your own personal story, sorrow and grief.
Mr. Molloy: Yes.
Chairman: I am sorry for interrupting you.
Mr. Molloy: Not at all, I stand corrected. In the final analysis, like the rest of the people in the campaign, we just seek openness and transparency. We are asking for a public inquiry of you who are in authority. If it is not a public inquiry and events unfold in other directions, it will be the final nail in the coffin for all of us. That is all I have to say.
Chairman: Thank you very much.
Mr. Liam Sullivan: I am a victim of the 1974 Dublin bombings in Parnell Street. I had a small barber shop in Parnell Street at the time. My brother was doing some writing on the outside of the window about 15 or 20 minutes before the bomb went off. He did not seem quite the same since. Incidentally, he committed suicide last year. His name was Eamon.
We were working away that day and a friend of mine, Edward O'Neill, came into the shop. It was his son's First Communion the following day. It was the first time he had ever been in the shop, although I trained with him in martial arts. He just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He came into the shop and his two sons got their hair cut. Edward and I were talking about the previous week's training that we had done together. When they were finished and walking out of the shop, I gave his two boys a couple of bob and Eddie, in turn, stopped to give me a tip. Just as he was going out, the door was blown off. Eddie's two kids were destroyed and Eddie was killed. He was blown into the garage where young Derek Byrne worked, Westbrook Motors, next door to me.
We had perspex instead of glass, which saved anybody in the shop because it came in, it did not shatter, but a piece of steel did come in. It cut through the top of my head and stuck into the wall. I was injured but I carried on. We went outside and I went to Derek Byrne's assistance. Young Derek was in an awful state. He was a petrol pump attendant. I helped him out as best I could and I saw Pat Fay's father lying there as well. That gentleman was in a bad way too. He hung around for about ten minutes and he eventually got out of the street.
A friend of mine, Eugene Berry, came up to the house and when he saw the state I was in, he brought me over to the then Richmond Hospital. I will never be able to explain what I saw over there. It was like a slaughterhouse. There were bodies everywhere and people being operated on. I was kept there for a day. I was let out but I had to be brought back again.
It has been on my mind all my life that but for the fact that I knew Eddie, he would not have been down in the shop that day with his two kids. I have had to live with that. I have only been receiving counselling in the last two years but I do not feel any great benefit from it. Nevertheless, I am going ahead with it. Like everybody else, I would like to see a public inquiry. I would be most grateful for that. I thank the legal team as well for bringing us this far. Thank you very much.
Chairman: Thank you very much. My deepest sympathy on the death of Eamon. I am terribly sorry to hear about it. I hope the counselling will work for you in the future and that you will achieve peace.
Deputy F. McGrath: I welcome all the families. It is essential to focus on the word "justice". Mr. Ó Dúlacháin mentioned the word "truth" earlier when we discussed the Barron report. I know some of the families have concerns about the terms of reference, but it is important that the Oireachtas committee hears the views of the families and learns about their traumatic suffering. It is important to put that on the record. I have listened to every word said this morning and I intend to take everything said seriously.
Mr. John Molloy said his experience has not left him. He thought he was looking into hell that day. He said he went back to the scene. Why did he go back to the scene? Did something prompt him to go back? Perhaps Mr. Molloy could elaborate on that.
Mr. Molloy: Earlier that day I was surrounded by many people, but, suddenly, they were all gone and I wondered what happened. I suppose I found some form of self-therapy at the beginning in terms of being there and making my own unconscious inquiry, trying to find out what happened or what went wrong. I felt an inward draw to the place; I felt I had to be there. It was not a case of being inquisitive. I felt I had to return and, by doing that, I did some prayerful reflection.
Deputy F. McGrath: Mr. Molloy also mentioned the criminal injuries tribunal board from which he got a cheque for £50. Did he and his family find that distressing?
Mr. Molloy: No. It was not distressing for me at that time because we were brought up as humble people. We did not realise what was considered compensation or our entitlement. It was helpful in so far as our home was burgled and a certain amount of valuables were taken. I was living at the time with my mother who looked after me for those three years. It was good that I was able to give her something.
Deputy F. McGrath: It must have been horrific for Ms Marie Power to have her beautiful sister killed. Ms Power got upset earlier when she mentioned the trauma experienced by her and her family. It is important that everyone knows what happened. Sometimes we use the word "victim" too lightly. That was what Ms Power tried to explain earlier.
Ms Power: Before it happened, one used to hear about such things in the North and one would say, "God love the craythers". One would not stay awake at night thinking about them. However, when one is in the situation, it is different. There was no counselling in 1974. We all struggled on our own to get through it or to cope in our own way. If something was said about Breda and someone got upset, the conversation did not continue. There is so much locked inside us all which has not been dealt with properly.
Deputy F. McGrath: I have one final question about Mr. Liam O'Sullivan's submission. I listened very carefully to Liam Sullivan talking about the O'Neill family whom I knew because Eddie and Niall attended the school where I worked for years, St. Mary's boys' school on Dorset Street. Did Mr. Sullivan feel that on the day it was sheer luck that he survived when he saw Edward O'Neill senior at the door a couple of metres away?
Mr. Sullivan: Absolutely, yes. It was a miracle because as I said there was material instead of glass. If one looks at the photograph of the shop after it happened one wonders how anybody got out. It was sheer luck on my part. Eddie was not so lucky.
Deputy F. McGrath: I take it that the consensus among all the victims' families is that they are looking for a public inquiry.
Mr. Sullivan: Absolutely.
Senator J. Walsh: I could not but be impressed by how the witnesses have faced the difficult task and ordeal of coming here and giving evidence. After 30 years the anger seems to have dissipated somewhat but they have handled it with a great deal of dignity. The hurt, however, is still very evident. John and Liam mentioned that they suffered from this trauma and have only recently attended counselling. During all the medical treatment they received immediately following the event, did the medical profession never recommend they attend counselling? I accept post-traumatic stress was less well-recognised then than it is today.
Mr. Sullivan: I attended the hospital for a short while after the event but never spoke to anybody about it. I had to live with it all my life and it affected my general health. I suffer from arthritis and Crohn's disease and have been stressed for most of my life since this happened. Like everybody else, I have recurring nightmares and so on. Only now am I attending a counsellor.
Senator J. Walsh: Does Mr. Molloy wish to make any comment on that? He alluded to the very valuable role and contribution made by the Justice for the Forgotten group from which he derived much solace. Alice O'Brien mentioned that earlier.
Mr. Molloy: I joined Justice for the Forgotten eight or nine years ago when I saw the article in the newspaper asking those who had been victimised in any way to come forward. I addressed the letter to the secretary, Ms Margaret Irwin. She invited me to come along and when I went I was very impressed with the work that had been achieved. I definitely gained strength from others, from realising their hardship, especially those who lost their loved ones, and acknowledging their pain and my own involvement in the event. It was very helpful to talk to one another about various aspects of our lives and to feel that we were all in one boat. That date, 17 May 1974, brought us all together.
Senator J. Walsh: Ms Power spoke about her sister, Breda, who unfortunately was leaving work at the same time as Siobhan Roice from Wexford whose father will give evidence here shortly. What were the effects on her father and mother in particular? I note she was engaged to be married so the effect on her fiancé was obviously also of consequence. Would Ms Power like to elaborate on that?
Ms Power: It left Mammy very bitter. The lads were all younger and Breda and I were the two eldest. She had the young boys to get up for in the morning, so she had to cope. I can never remember her going to the doctor to get tablets to cope with depression. I remember the doctor attending her at night but I do not think she ever got tablets to help her cope with depression. The two smaller children kept her going, as she had to get up and look after them. That is what I remember.
Senator J. Walsh: The witnesses identified with what had been happening in Northern Ireland during the period and other events which took place there involving loss of life and serious injury. Given the empathy the three witnesses may have felt with other victims, perhaps in particular the victims of the Omagh and Enniskillen bombings which happened subsequently, and given also the solace the witnesses got from working together with Justice for the Forgotten, to what extent have they been in contact with others? I wonder to what extent Justice for the Forgotten can continue after this matter is hopefully resolved satisfactorily, and perhaps play a part in greater reconciliation between peoples on this island, as it is the conflict between them which in part gave rise to the troubles and atrocities that we have seen. The experience of the witnesses and the manner in which they recounted them, as well as what comes across as a certain empathy with others, could be a powerful vehicle in that regard.
Mr. Molloy: I have been in contact with people who suffered as a result of the Omagh bomb, and with their families. I have sent cards of sympathy in my own personal way for the simple reason that I realise what they have gone through, and the aftermath, particularly after 30 years. Not only have I done that but I have also written to those who suffered as a result of the Ealing bombing in London. I sent cards with a sympathetic brooch and a letter to say I sympathised with them tremendously and to say that those who carried out the bombings did not do so in my name, or anyone's name, so to speak. Wherever there have been atrocities similar to what we suffered, I have extended a sympathetic hand and have received an acknowledgement. The latest example of that was following the 11 September 2001 atrocity when I got an acknowledgement from the New York Police Department, addressed to Justice for the Forgotten.
I thank Mr. Molloy. We have heard from the victims and relatives of those
affected by the Parnell Street bombing and have been very moved by them.
It is a terrible story but it has been well told. I thank the witnesses
very much for that. I know it is very difficult for them to come here
and I appreciate their attendance. Thank you all very much.
Mr. Ó Dúlacháin: Mr. Massey has presented a very good and detailed submission to the committee. It traverses this module and a number of the other modules. He is very keen to outline today what he has done in his submission, as well as speaking of his personal background. He is very aware of the constraints on the committee.
Chairman: I thank Mr. Massey for his detailed and excellent submission, copies of which we have received and read. As Mr. Ó Dúlacháin stated, it extends into the other modules. We are, however, trying to make our considerations as informal as possible. He understand the situation.
Mr. Frank Massey: Shall I read my script?
My daughter, Anna Massey, aged 21 years, was murdered on 17 May 1974 in
South Leinster Street, Dublin. It is with great sadness and disappointment
that I make this submission to the committee in the wake of the Barron
report. Having been led to place great hope and trust in the powers and
efficiency of the Barron inquiry, my family and I were bitterly disappointed
in the inability of the report, given its perceived powers, to answer
questions most desired by ourselves and other families affected by the
atrocities in Dublin and Monaghan in May 1974. Many questions of detail,
of which the committee will no doubt be made aware by other submissions,
were not answered either in part or at all by the report.
A further public inquiry is essential to establish the truth of what happened in the aftermath of my daughter's murder, the murder of 33 others and the injury of hundreds of Irish people on 17 May 1974. I expect a public inquiry to address and answer the following questions: files of the greatest relevance to the bombings compiled by the Department of Justice, the Garda Síochána and, presumably, the intelligence service have been declared missing. Obviously, Mr. Justice Barron did not have access to or view these files, thus rendering his inquiry ignorant of information vital to an assessment of the overall quality of the investigation. These files may contain information as to whether there was any foreknowledge of the impending atrocity; questions relating to the forensic investigation; the quality of the Royal Ulster Constabulary's co-operation with the Garda in the aftermath of the bombings; assessments regarding inter-forces collusion; and the reason suspected persons were not interviewed by the investigators.
I expect that a further public inquiry would be empowered to investigate fully the disappearance of the files. Where and when were they last consulted? Who was responsible for them? Was their guardian asked to explain their disappearance? Were there copies of them and, if so, where?
On the night of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, the then Taoiseach, Liam Cosgrave, appeared on a special television broadcast promising to leave no stone unturned until those responsible were brought to justice, yet the then Minister for Foreign Affairs, Garret FitzGerald, recently wrote:
"...it would have been better to have launched much sooner an inquiry of the kind Mr Justice Barron has now undertaken. All who subsequently held political office, myself included, must bear some of the blame for the fact that this did not happen."
Despite Mr. Justice Barron's efforts his investigation was thwarted by lack of access to relevant information both at home and abroad. A further public inquiry with investigative powers must be held to determine the whereabouts of the missing files and to charge the current or future Governments to press for greater access to relevant files in the possession of the British Government.
Thirty years have not diminished the sorrow and frustration that my family and the other families have suffered. Despite an untold number of meetings and correspondence, media appeals and appearances, until the recent interest of the Taoiseach, Deputy Bertie Ahern, we, the bereaved, have had very little official contact with or satisfaction from the Government of the day. I hope, at the very least, that a new public inquiry would lead to a public acknowledgement by our Government of our suffering and the neglect of our concerns and that our Government would tirelessly pursue the British Government for the information it holds in regard to this atrocity, that a national day of mourning would be instigated in recognition of all those persons killed and injured since the Troubles began in 1968, and that mention by officials of reparations to the survivors of injury would be addressed to the satisfaction of all concerned.
As an ordinary citizen and the father of a beautiful murdered child, the circumstances of whose death have not been fully or properly investigated leaving my family and I with a great loss and a disappointment in the society in which I brought up my seven children to believe, I demand a public inquiry in her name and in the names of all who died or were injured on 17 May 1974.
My submission is intentionally short and succinct. My plea to the committee is simple. After 30 years, this is probably the last opportunity I and the other relatives will have to press our concerns. This Government and future Governments cannot be allowed to repeat the neglect of our tragedy as past Governments have done. I ask the committee to answer our submissions by an appropriately empowered public inquiry and restore our and the general public's confidence in the Irish political, law enforcement and judicial systems as I have, in spite of everything, tried to instil in my own family. I am now 80 years of age and have fought long and hard to achieve justice for Anna. My family will continue to strive to establish the truth. I hope she will not be disappointed with our efforts.
Ms Philomena Lawlor-Watson: My name is Phil Lawlor-Watson and I was injured in the bomb in South Leinster Street. I can remember little immediately before the explosion of the bomb. When questioned later by the Garda, I could not remember anything of that afternoon.
It was a Friday and I was looking forward to the weekend. I worked with Chubb Alarms on South Leinster Street at that time. There was a bus strike and, as Chubb had a fleet of vans, the staff were promised a lift home. I was sitting in a double-parked Chubb van across from the bomb vehicle at the railing of Trinity College. A colleague, Pat Ryan, sat in the back of the van with me. The driver, Jack Myler, turned the ignition key and simultaneously there was a very loud bang and our vehicle began to rock to and fro. The driver, Jack, who suffered head injuries, ran from the vehicle. Pat Ryan, my companion, dived head first over the front seat and ran screaming down the street dropping her bag outside the vehicle.
I can remember covering
my face with my hands and waiting to feel something penetrate my body
or to see an arm or a leg disappear. My hair stood straight up and my
ears and scalp were full of tiny pieces of glass. One of my fingers was
bleeding and there was a slit in the red shirt I was wearing and a wound
on my left rib cage. I just sat there and did not move until I was pulled
out of the van by Jack, who told me there was going to be another bomb.
I was in deep shock.
We were then taken to Powers Hotel where I was given first aid and interviewed by a journalist from The Irish Times. Some time later I was taken home to my bedsit in Dufferin Avenue but I do not know by whom. I went into my home alone feeling as if in a nightmare. I sat on my bed with my back to the wall and with my knees drawn up to my chin. I was found there by my sister some time later. I have no idea if it was minutes or hours, I can only presume it was at least an hour because my sister lived in Carysfort and had to cycle across the city.
I just sat there feeling cold and numb. Later I began to shiver and could not stop. I was later taken by a friend to the accident and emergency department at a local hospital where I was given medication for shock and trauma. I slept well but the following days were very difficult. I could not forget the explosion, the bang and the fire. In particular, I could not forget the face of the young lady to whom I had given water, wondering if she lived or died. I was fearful of every car which was parked irregularly and on more than one occasion I called the Garda to inspect vehicles, which it did.
Since I joined Justice for the Forgotten, I have come to realise the total devastation felt by so many people who have lost loved ones. The victims who received serious and long-term physical and emotional injuries will carry their pain for the rest of their lives. Nothing could ever be the same again. In realising how lucky I have been, I also feel a sense of guilt that I survived while so many who were much younger than me, even babies, lost their lives.
How am I now? I am still quite jumpy and I suffer nightmares, not every night but many nights. I sometimes wake after loud bangs, obviously recalling the episode. My husband tells me that I jump in my sleep. I still feel shaky in the city centre, large stores and places of entertainment. I am constantly watching for anything suspicious or any person who is acting in a suspicious way. I received counselling a few years ago which helped me a great deal. I am on medication for panic attacks and claustrophobia and may have to remain on it for the rest of my life. It is 30 years since the bombings and it is incredible that so little was done to bring the perpetrators of such heinous crimes to justice.
I welcome Mr. Justice Barron's report, which I have read throughout. It was very well done and I thank him for it. However, it raises many questions not only for the victims, but also for the State. These questions should be grappled with and answered. There seems to be only one way to proceed. The State must get to the bottom of the mass murder of 34 innocent people and the injuries, physical and psychological, of some 150 others. Only a public tribunal of inquiry could assuage, in some small way, the sorrow and pain of the survivors. It is incumbent on the State, at this late date and before more of the injured pass away, to establish a public tribunal of inquiry. By doing so it will give the victims the satisfaction of knowing that the State understands the gravity of the situation and is prepared to act accordingly.
Chairman: I thank Ms Lawlor-Watson for telling her story and I call Mr. Kevin O'Loughlin.
Mr. Kevin O'Loughlin: I am making this submission on behalf of the family of the late Christina O'Loughlin. I am Kevin O'Loughlin, son of Christina O'Loughlin who was killed in the South Leinster Street explosion. I am also representing my father, also Kevin O'Loughlin, her husband, who is 82 years old. Unfortunately, he is in ill-health and is not able to be present today. My father was a committed member of the Justice for the Forgotten campaign from the early days and was very active in the movement. I am also representing my brother, Edward O'Loughlin, and my wife, Catherine O'Loughlin.
My mother Christina was 51 years old at the time of her death. She worked in the Shelbourne Hotel and had a trade that was quite unusual, French polishing. She returned to work in the 1950s when my brother and I were growing up and worked right up until her death. On the day she died, 17 May 1974, she would have been leaving the Shelbourne Hotel and would have passed the gates of Leinster House. She was on her way to our home not far away in Townsend Street. At the bottom of Kildare Street she would have turned down along the college wall towards Westland Row. I think she was probably talking to Frank Massey's daughter, Anna, because I understand they may have known each other. The bomb exploded, and I understand she was killed instantly.
At the time I was in the TSB in Abbey Street. I did hear the explosion. I went home to our house and I waited there with my brother and my father. We had no news, of course; we had no telephone. We waited the whole evening until well past midnight. We had no news whatsoever but we were aware that something was terribly wrong because we knew that she would have passed down that way. She would always come the same way - we dreaded that - but we knew in our hearts that something was terribly wrong.
Later during the night, my father eventually decided to go and search for my mother. He went around to the hospitals in Dublin asking where she was. He got no information at all, so at some stage in the night he would have gone to the morgue. It was there that he identified her body. That would have been at about three or four in the morning, I think. Obviously, I cannot say anything more except the fact that we were totally devastated by this. I remember her funeral and the presence of some Government Ministers at it. After that, we pretty much had to get on with our lives as best we could. As John Molloy mentioned, I remember the time when we received the compensation tribunal award. That was the only time I ever remember hearing anything back from the authorities about my mother's death. We never received any feedback on how the Garda investigation was going.
As time went on, we just carried on with our lives, as I said. We had our own private memorial mass for my mother. We really did not have much confidence in ourselves and in what we could do. In fact, we spoke very little about her death. My father, in particular, found it very difficult to talk about the terrible things he would have seen. Even to this day, he does not really talk about it. He finds it difficult.
When the Justice for the Forgotten campaign started, we joined. Since then we have been able to build more confidence in ourselves to try to find out exactly what happened. I would like to associate our family with the remarks of Mr. Massey, in particular, about the Barron report. Our family is very much in favour of a public inquiry being held. Thank you very much.
Chairman: Thank you very much, Kevin, for telling us that.
Deputy P. Power: I thank Kevin, Frank and Phil for coming in today. Everything you have said in your submissions has been recorded on tape and video, and there will be public transcripts. Everything you have said has now been read into the public record, perhaps for the first time ever. This should never be underestimated. Those transcripts and tapes will be available to you should you ever wish to have a look at them. I know that many of you have come here today - Kevin especially - almost on a mission representing your families. It is important that you know that they are available to bring back to those whom you represent.
Once again - I mentioned this earlier - it is important to say that, when we make our judgments, recommendations and findings in a few weeks time, everything that you have said today will inform us in coming to our opinions. I have one question each for Kevin, Phil and Frank. I would like to ask Phil when she personally became involved in the campaign. You mentioned that in recent years you had been getting counselling. Was it before the "Hidden Hands" programme? Did you have the feeling that this issue was still outstanding in your life, or was it brought home to you that there were big outstanding unanswered questions after 1993?
Ms Lawlor-Watson: No. It was nothing to do with the "Hidden Hand" programme. At first I tried my best to push everything away and get on with my life. At that time, I had not met any of the other people who were involved in the bombing. No one was in touch with me. In around 1997, I joined Justice for the Forgotten. It was the time Mr. Wilson became involved. I gave a statement to Mr. Wilson and got in touch with Margaret Irwin, our secretary. It was only then that the full impact of it all came tumbling back. Particularly when I looked to Frank Massey and saw and heard him speak, I just felt the man's life would never be back with him. He would always be devastated. It was then that the full impact of it all came back to me and I began to ask questions.
It was from then that I asked why this had happened and no one had done anything about it. I then became very involved in it. I am the vice-chairperson at the moment. The group has done great work in supporting people. I am not the only one. There are others who are far worse, which has been a good help to me in getting back to myself as much as I can.
Deputy P. Power:
We have all read Mr. Massey's detailed submission, which is appreciated.
We will give it a great deal of consideration in the second module of
our hearings, especially in regard to those missing files, about which
we are all upset and are anxious to get to the bottom of.
Mr. Massey: Yes.
Deputy P. Power: How has this affected Muriel?
Mr. Massey: Muriel does not talk about it. She cannot, even at this late stage. The effect it has had on the family has been horrific, especially from their mother's point of view. In 1974 my wife was 49 years of age, going on 14, as my daughter who is here today will tell the committee. However, from that night to the present day, that woman is living on pills. It has affected some of my daughters very badly. I cannot give Muriel's account because I do not think she has yet reached the stage of talking about it. That is a big effect. I can understand Muriel's point of view because, after all, she lost half herself that night. I can understand her mother's point of view because she gave birth to her and she was her eldest daughter. I understand all that.
I have come to terms with it. Phil mentioned my devastation. I have come to terms with my daughter's death. The devastation I suffered from is that for 25 of the last 30 years, I was being treated like a leper. Nobody wanted to know me or the rest of them, but I will speak personally. No TD or media of any description wanted to know Frank Massey. I got the impression that a bar was put up. People seemed to be saying that they should keep away from me and not listen to me because I wanted to talk about the 1974 bombings.
Prior to Justice for the Forgotten, a few other people and I were fiddling around. We got to see TDs and leaders of parties but we could never get to see Taoisigh. The first Taoiseach to see us was Deputy Bertie Ahern. I am not talking about party politics but the whole wide spectrum of politics.
Politicians are the greatest promisers in the world but they are the worst deliverers. They treated us disgracefully and, at this stage of the game, it is not too much for us to demand an inquiry. Give this case, once and for all, top priority. Treat it like they treat the tribunals at Dublin Castle and elsewhere. Give it top priority and let us bring this thing to an end. It is heart rending to listen to the people and the stories. I have been listening to them for years and my heart goes out to them. There are worse cases than mine. I am demanding, not appealing for, a public inquiry and priority. I am sorry if I have lost the head a bit.
Deputy P. Power: I refer to Mr. O'Loughlin and the importance of these hearings. Was it an ordeal for him to attend the meeting because his father was involved? Did he welcome the invitation?
Mr. O'Loughlin: I was not asked. I volunteered to attend on behalf of my father mainly because he was the chief victim of the atrocity, along with my mother. My father, unfortunately, had a stroke and is in a nursing home. This is something I want to do for him while he is still alive so that he can have definite answers about what happened. He has never been told anything officially. I am pleased the Barron report has been published and a start has been made to find out exactly what happened. I hope I can go back to my father this evening and say to him I have been before the Oireachtas committee, it listened to what I had to say and it will take action.
Deputy P. Power: Mr. O'Loughlin might send him our best wishes.
Deputy P. McGrath: I thank the witnesses for telling their stories. I hope Mr. O'Loughlin will be able to report to his father that everybody got a fair hearing. We heard the stories and I empathise with those who appeared in terms of the difficulties they experienced. It is difficult to lose a parent and it is absolutely traumatic for a parent to lose a child. It must also be extremely difficult to lose a spouse early in life, particularly when there are young children to look after. We can only guess at the difficulties the witnesses have experienced but we have heard many heart rending stories.
Mr. O'Loughlin was a teenager when he lost his mother.
Mr. O'Loughlin: I was 24 years.
Deputy P. McGrath: He is wearing well. Will he give an insight into a family that loses its mother and the difficulties and trauma experienced in such a household? Many of us identify with a mother being the kingpin in the home. She creates the atmosphere and so on in a household. Perhaps he will give us an insight into the trauma in his family arising from his mother's death.
Mr. O'Loughlin: The main trauma related to the death itself because, when my father identified my mother, we asked whether we could go to see her but we were told we could not view her body because it was so badly mutilated. I did not see my mother's body when she was killed and I have no memory of what she looked like. She was wiped off the face of the earth in the eyes of myself and my brother. One day she was there and the next she was gone. That has been a central idea in our minds and it is something with which we still have to live.
There were other issues. The first memorial was unveiled - members would not know this - on Parnell Square. I am not sure who was involved. There was a very small piece of stone which just said: "Dublin-Monaghan Bombings, 1974". That was all that was there and there was, as far as I remember, no official ceremony or whatever. If you had been walking up and down Parnell Square you would have seen this piece of stone in the corner which just said that. That was the only State recognition of any kind for many years to the fact that my mother had been taken away.
These are all the memories I have of the time in the 70s and 80s, until the 90s when the justice campaign started and we really got some confidence and started to articulate our feelings about what happened to my mother and all of the things that were not done.
Deputy P. McGrath: Did it help Mr. O'Loughlin's dad a lot at that time?
Mr. O'Loughlin: I think so, yes. He was a very active member of the committee. He came to all the meetings and supported the committee fully. Unfortunately, for the last three years he has not been able to do that. Let us say that I, to some extent, have taken up the cause on his behalf. That is the way I feel about it now.
Deputy P. McGrath:
I thank Mr. Frank Massey for his submission. He has put much time and
work into it.
Deputy P. McGrath: If he can do that much in ten minutes perhaps he will come and help me out occasionally.
Mr. Massey: I will not answer that.
Deputy P. McGrath: Mr. Massey has made an impassioned plea for a public inquiry. He has put much thought into examining the Barron report and into what Mr. Justice Barron did and said in it. To what extent does he think it important that we get access to the files in Northern Ireland and co-operation from the Northern Ireland-----
Chairman: That matter will be dealt with in modules 2 and 5. I would like to stick to what is to be dealt with in this module.
Deputy P. McGrath: Will Mr. Massey come back for module 2?
Chairman: I would prefer if no questions were asked regarding that. We will take on board what Mr. Massey has said in his submission at that time.
Deputy P. McGrath: I am sorry. I would like to have heard Mr. Massey's response.
Chairman: I am sorry about that, Mr. Massey. You will understand.
Mr. Massey: That is okay. You are the Chairman.
Chairman: If I am as sharp and as fit as you are at 80 years of age I will be delighted. I call Deputy Costello.
Deputy Costello: What contact or communication did the witnesses have with the Barron inquiry?
Mr. Massey: The relatives had a meeting with Mr. Justice Barron in Dáil Éireann. I attended that meeting.
Chairman: Did you speak directly with Mr. Justice Barron?
Mr. Massey: Yes. He was the chairman and he gave us all our chance to speak our minds.
Chairman: It was, more or less, what you have told us.
Mr. Massey: I am not sure of the date. It was during his investigation. We were here in Dáil Éireann.
Mr. Molloy: I remember the meeting with Mr. Justice Barron. He brought us up to his office, which was in line with the Taoiseach's in Government Buildings. There was a group of us, perhaps ten to a dozen people. He sat us down and listened to us as we gave our own brief stories. With regard to his inquiry, he said he would like us to note that if we came across any evidence that would help him in his report we should bring it forward. He, more or less, left us with that question.
Chairman: On that point we will conclude until 2.15 p.m. this afternoon.
suspended at 1.20 p.m. and resumed at 2.15 p.m.