Irish Republican News · December 12, 2003
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Govt opposes public inquiry on bombings

The Irish Government is to oppose a full judicial inquiry into the 1974 Dublin/Monaghan bombings, following publication of the Barron report.

In his report, which took four years to compile, Justice Barron found evidence of collusion by British forces in the attacks, which were carried out by the unionist paramilitary UVF.

Last night, Dublin government officials cited the possible expense of a long-running public inquiry as a reason not to openly investigate the deaths of 33 citizens in bomb attacks on Dublin and Monaghan.

The Irish parliamentary Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights Committee is to hold its own hearings into the findings produced for the next three months.

The committee will recommend whether an inquiry would "be required, or fruitful", though it cannot compel witnesses to attend, or make findings of fact.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Cowen, has dodged questions about the need for a public inquiry when he was questioned in Dublin yesterday.

Meanwhile, members of the 1973/77 cabinet have remained silent after the inquiry's sharp criticisms of their performance following the bombings.

In his findings, Mr Justice Barron said the government had shown "an apparent lack of interest" in tracking down the bombers who killed 33 people, including a pregnant woman.

The surviving cabinet members, who were led by the taoiseach, Mr Liam Cosgrave, will now be invited to make submissions to the Justice Committee.

The committee has set a deadline of January 9th for receipt of submissions, and it hopes to begin public hearings on January 20th with testimony from relatives of those killed and injured.

Mr Greg O'Neill, the solicitor representing many of the families, said a full public inquiry must now be ordered by the Government into the atrocities and their aftermath.

However, he said he believed that a repeat of the lengthy Saville inquiry, which is expected to cost #155 million sterling to complete, could be avoided.

The Fine Gael/Labour Cabinet had moral obligations, he said: "There was an amazing lack of commitment and follow-through from people who went on television and said that it was an unforgivable act and that no stone would be left unturned until those responsible were brought to justice.

"We are simply not going to be bought off by saying that this all happened a long time ago. It was not our fault," he said.

The families' group, Justice for the Forgotten, will review its legal options over coming weeks, though it has not decided to seek compensation from the Irish and British governments.

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© 2003 Irish Republican News