RUC man ran collusion HQ - Barron
The farm of an RUC policeman was used as a centre of operations for unionist paramilitary activity at the height of the conflict, according to the final report of Justice Henry Barron.
The farm of RUC reservist James Mitchell has been singled out in the new report as a base for the UVF men who carried out bomb attacks on both sides of the border in the mid-seventies, including the 1975 Dundalk bombing.
the former Supreme Court judge first referred to the Mitchell farm near Newtownhamilton in his report on the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings, in which 33 people died and hundreds were injured.
In his final report, Mr Barron repeated his belief that the farm provided a base for the UVF men who carried out bomb attacks on both sides of the border in the mid-seventies, including the 1975 Dundalk bombing, in which two men died and twenty were injured.
Margaret Urwin of the Justice for the Forgotten group last night expressed her disappointment that while the judge appeared reluctant to clearly confirm the existence of collusion between loyalist death squads and British forces.
“He seemed to be hedging his bets. He just won’t come down and say outright that there definitely was collusion which is very disappointing,” she said.
In the case of the Dundalk attack, the judge referred to 19 suspects but only named seven, including known loyalists. Several others’ names were blacked out.
He also complained that entire albums of suspects’ photographs had gone missing without a trace from Garda files.
He revealed that the accusation that four RUC members in the Portadown area were UVF members had been passed from the gardai to the Department of Justice and on to the Department of Foreign Affairs - but documents could only be found in the latter department’s files.
Ms Urwin expressed fury at how relatives of those killed in a number of loyalist atrocities investigated by Mr Justice Barron had been treated by the Irish government.
She said that they had been given just 24 hours notice that the report was to be published yesterday by a parliamentary Committee - and had been given the judge’s finding just 35 minutes before they were made public.
“These people have been treated appallingly,” she said, also voicing her disappointment at the lack of new information on the Miami Showband massacre and the Castleblayney bombing.
Earlier, Margaret English, whose father Hugh Watters died in the Dundalk bombing, said victims’ families had been neglected by the 26-County state for three decades.
“I think the bombers were treated better than we were,” she said.
“It is absolutely disgusting that citizens of the state were treated in this way.”
Ms English added that her family had not received any cooperation from gardai when they held an event at the scene to mark the 30th ann-iversary of the atrocity in December last year.
Dublin parliamentary hearings on the Barron report are due to take place from late September.