Republican News · Thursday 18 January 2001

[An Phoblacht]

Celtic League raises crash flight questions

The Celtic League has re-iterated its concerns to the Dublin government about the re-opened investigation into an airliner crash over the Irish sea 30 years ago.

All 61 people on board an Aer Lingus Viscount airliner died when the aircraft crashed in the Irish sea in March 1968. The incident still constitutes the most serious loss of life in any air crash over the Irish sea. Speculation about possible British military involvement (the aircraft had been passing close to the Aberporth missile testing range off Caernarvon bay) resulted in a review of evidence last year by the British and Irish governments. The League has queried the accuracy of some of the evidence supplied by the British for that review. The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) had said that parts of an SD2 Stiletto target drone found near the crash site could not be connected with the crash as in 1968 no launch system had been developed for the type. However, the Celtic League has pointed out that Shorts, the Belfast plane maker, modified an obsolete Canberra bomber as a launch vehicle for the type in 1967.

Six months ago, the Dublin government set up a further independent assessment and this is currently under-way.

The League has now written to Mary O'Rourke at the Department of Public Enterprise pointing out that new research at the United Kingdom Public Record Office indicates that information about either the crash or the Aberporth facility appears to have been `swept' clean at that facility.

The League has also written to the British ambassador to Dublin asking why a promised reply concerning the inaccuracy of information supplied to the inter-governmental review has not been forthcoming.

There is little doubt that the unresolved issue of the fate of EI-712 is a continuing embarrassment to both the British and Irish governments.

A combination of relatives, pressure groups and the media is not satisfied that the full story has yet emerged.

The British government, for their part, have not helped their case (that the Aberporth missile testing facility was closed and could not therefore have been involved in the crash) by destroying critical records and losing pertinent documentation e.g. the logbooks from several naval warships.

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