An Irish parliamentary committee has called for another investigation by an international judge on the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings after it concluded hearings on a previous inquiry by Ireland's Justice Barron.

The proposal for another interim inquiry has brought a mixed reaction amid fears that it could only delay a full, properly constituted inquiry.

Thirty-three people died in bombings in Dublin city and Monaghan town which have been linked with elements of the British Crown forces.

The forces in the 26 Counties have also been accused of colluding in the atrocities themselves in order to erode support for the IRA. The Dublin government of the day has been heavily criticised for its disinterest in the atrocity.

The committee held open hearings into these allegations and the failure of subsequent investigations into the bombings.

A majority of the committee recommended the Irish and British governments agree terms of reference of a new investigation based upon the Weston Park proposals -- in other words, a further report along the lines undertaken by Canadian judge Peter Cory in other cases of alleged collusion.

A majority of the committee recommended an investigation by an international judge within a set time limit under British law. The judge could recommend further action, including a public inquiry in either jurisdiction, and the relevant government would be obliged to implement any such recommendation.

The Committee said that in the event of the British government failing to set up such an investigation, the Irish Government should consider instituting proceedings in the European Court of Human Rights.

The Committee said they were also ``very concerned'' about the manner in which a number of documents relating to the bombings appear to have gone missing over the years. It said that two other, separate investigations should be carried out in the 26 Counties into why the garda police investigation into the bombings was wound up so quickly, and to ascertain the whereabouts of missing police files.

Solicitor Greg O'Neill, acting for families of those murdered and injured in the bombings, said his clients had won the argument.

``Today the debate is no longer about whether a further inquiry is needed, but what form that inquiry should take.''

Calling on the 26-County government to ensure full cooperation from the British Government in any public inquiry, O'Neill said: his group was willing to work with any international independent inquiry, which met recognised standards.

``It must be speedily established and properly resourced; independent; have legal powers in both jurisdictions; have the committed support of both governments; be transparent, ie. can and will take and test evidence in public, and report in public; and be fully involved and engaged with the victims and their representatives.''

He added that any inquiry lacking these features would not win the cooperation or confidence of the victims.

Bernie McNally, of the `Justice for the Forgotten' group, said some of the demands of the families had beewn met, ``but the form of investigation does not have the hallmarks of being public.''

McNally was dismayed that the Committee had proposed a separate investigation into the issue of files that went mysteriously missing from the Department of Justice and from Garda headquarters.

``We want one effective and efficient inquiry,'' she said. ``Whilst the issue of the missing files is worrying and important, we don't see the efficacy of multiple inquiries on selected aspects of the Dublin and Monaghan case.''

Sinn Féin Dail leader Caoimhghín Ó Caolain TD expressed ``deep disappointment'' that the report of the committee failed to recommend a public inquiry covering both jurisdictions on the island of Ireland.

``When the Report recommends a Cory-type investigation, it states that the judge conducting the investigation could recommend further action including whether a public inquiry in either jurisdiction should be held or not,'' he said. ``Yet in Judge Barron's report the Committee had more than enough evidence to call, in its own right, for a public inquiry covering both jurisdictions. The majority of the Committee have failed to do so.

``The Report removes much of the onus for action from the shoulders of the Irish Government. That is deeply disappointing.

``Nothing short of a full public inquiry carried out on a cross-jurisdictional basis is acceptable. Justice Barron has already carried out an investigation and the Committee has had its deliberation on his Report. We do not need another Barron inquiry.''

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© 2004 Irish Republican News