Irish Republican News · February 18, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: BRITISH ARMY OFFICER 'PRIMED MONAGHAN BOMB'
BRITISH ARMY OFFICER 'PRIMED MONAGHAN BOMB'

A former officer in the Irish defence forces has told a Dublin parliamentary committee investigation into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974 that he had information that a senior British Army officer was the person who armed the bomb that killed six people in Monaghan in May 1974.

Commandant PT Trears told the committee that the British Army officer in question would also have had access to the forensic evidence sent from the 26 Counties to the North for analysis after the Dublin-Monaghan bombings that claimed 34 lives.

Commandant Trears served as an explosives expert with the 26-County defence forces, and defused over 15 bombs in Dublin city centre in the 1970s.

Commandant Trears told the committee the British officer had previously approached him and suggested in a casual manner that he might provide information on the type of bombs that were being detected in the South.

Following Commandant Trears's testimony, committee chairman Sean Ardagh directed that the committee go into private session.

LEGAL ACTION PLANNED

On Tuesday, the victims and victims' relatives of the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings said they would take legal action against the Dublin government if a full public inquiry into the atrocities is not established.

Michael Mansfield QC, acting on behalf of Ed O'Neill, Bernie Bergin and John Bergin, argued that the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights meant the Government had "little or no option other than to order a public inquiry". Mr Mansfield said the right to life - as guaranteed in the Convention's Article 2 - was violated by a failure to carry out an effective and thorough investigation following the unlawful killings.

He said the moral starting point for a legal obligation to establish a public inquiry was the reasonable expectation of the families. "And given the size of the atrocity we're dealing with, a community beyond the victims was affected by what happened."

He stressed that a public inquiry would be fruitful. He was confident that the British government would hand over files to a public inquiry that it had refused to the private Barron inquiry.

"If the British Government refused to co-operate with a public inquiry, it could be found to be in breach of the European Convention".

Senator Jim Walsh (FF) asked Mr Mansfield why, if the legal case for the establishment of a public inquiry was so strong under the European Convention, his clients had not taken legal action against the State compelling it to establish one.

Mr Mansfield answered, "Watch this space".

© 2004 Irish Republican News