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April 1995 :


My name is Alice O’Brien and I am representing the Dublin & Monaghan bombings Relatives’ Committee here today. I lost my sister, her husband and their two babies, 17 months old Jacqueline and 5 months old Anne Marie in the Dublin bombings. To this day we are unsure as to whether they died in Parnell Street or Talbot Street.

The 21st anniversary of these bombings will occur on 17th of next month and, for all of those twenty-one years, the relatives of the victims and the survivors, have waited, so far in vain, for justice to be done. Successive governments have buried their heads in the sand on this, the greatest single atrocity, in the history of the twenty-five years of the Northern ‘Troubles’.

New evidence came to light in the Yorkshire television production ‘Hidden Hand: the forgotten massacre’ broadcast in July 1993. It reinforced the long-held suspicions of many, of the involvement of British intelligence services in the bombings. At that time, elements of British intelligence were working to overthrow the Labour Government in Britain, which had come to power, under Harold Wilson, the previous February. This is confirmed by Peter Wright, a member of MI6 at the time, in his book Spycatcher. Merlyn Rees, the Northern Ireland Secretary of State in 1974, said on the Yorkshire television programme that he believed his policies were being undermined by a subversive faction in Army intelligence.

Following the bombings, there was an early break-through in the hunt for the bombers. A church minister was able to pick out three men from police mugshots, as the men he saw, attempting to steal a car from a Portadown car park on that afternoon. All three were prominent Loyalists from that town. It later emerged that the car that exploded in Monaghan had been stolen from that car park on that same afternoon. Three separate eyewitnesses identified the driver of the Monaghan car and three further eyewitnesses pinpointed the driver of one of the Dublin cars. The Gardaí went to RUC Headquarters with their information but were not allowed to interview any of the suspects or the owners of the cars. The RUC promised to report back to the Gardaí but there is no record on Garda files, according to Yorkshire television, to say whether or not the RUC ever reverted to them. It seems the Gardaí failed to press the case further and the Irish Government of the day failed to raise the matter with the British Government. To the best of our knowledge, there had been no further action until the broadcasting of the programme.

It was reported on RTE news last week that Gardaí had been interviewing Fr. Brendan Smyth at an RUC station in connection with alleged child abuse in the Republic. If that is so, why was it not possible for them to interview the suspected bombers in the same way?

Two bomb disposal experts, from the British and Irish Army respectively, having examined the official forensic report, stated on the programme that the Loyalists could not have carried out such an expert military operation without assistance. A former Garda Commissioner, Eamonn Doherty, also claimed that they must have been helped.

A year after the bombings, despite the list of suspects and the eyewitnesses, T.J. Fitzpatrick (answering for Patrick Cooney, Minister for Justice) told Dáil Éireann: ‘As far as the Garda Síochána are concerned, they have no positive information with which to identify the people who committed these outrages’.

In the aftermath of the Yorkshire television programme, the then Minister for Justice, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, instructed the Gardaí to follow up the various questions raised by it. She had been about to issue us with a report of these investigations when the Government fell last November. We wrote to her successor, Nora Owen, on 10th January but now, three months later, we have not received any reply to our letter, apart from an acknowledgement of its receipt.

Our Committee is simply asking for truth and justice. We believe we have a right to know the truth about the alleged involvement of British intelligence in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings and also that we have a right to know the truth about the failure of our Government and our police force to pursue the investigation.

In the climate that has been created by the ceasefires we believe that coming clean on past actions is a necessary part of the peace process so that we may be able to forgive and to begin the healing process. We further believe that we, the relatives of the victims and the survivors, have the right to access all relevant information in the possession of the authorities.

We are pleased to have this opportunity to speak to you directly today and we would appeal to this Forum for Peace and Reconciliation to attempt to right this grave wrong and to recommend the establishment of a full public inquiry into the atrocity. Thank you all very much for listening to me.

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