Families accuse committee of 'breach of faith'

Relatives of the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bomb victims were on the verge of walking out of a committee investigating the attacks on Wednesday night after what they said was an incredible breach of faith.

The Justice for the Forgotten group expressed outrage that two independent British lawyers called in to address the parliamentary sub-committee were not given all relevant documents to consider before making their submissions.

The committee has for three months been investigating Mr Justice Henry Barrons report on the 1974 bombings.

It was addressed yesterday by Antonio Bueno QC and Michael Collins SC who claimed that under that country's Human Rights Act, Britain may have a moral obligation to carry out an investigation into the bombings with a focus on possible collusion with its military forces.

But the lawyers had not been presented with oral statements and submissions made by the families of victims.

Lawyer Greg ONeill, representing Justice for the Forgotten, said its members had participated in the process in good faith and expected to be treated in the same way.

What has happened is a fundamental breach of faith as far as we are concerned, he said.

We were on the brink of leaving and will only be persuaded to stay if the pro-cess is conducted with basic standards of fairness.

Mr ONeill said that if the families of the 1998 Omagh bomb victims were treated similarly there would be an international outcry.

This wouldnt be allowed to happen. If it was not so important it would be a farce, he said.

The committee, which was due to end its deliberations on Wednesday, will reconvene on Monday after the two lawyers have been provided with all the relat-ives written statements and oral submissions.

Margaret Urwin, a spokeswoman for Justice for the Forgotten, said it would be ironic in the extreme if the Dublin government did not set up a tribunal of inquiry into the attacks.

She said that if the government could establish an inquiry into the 1989 murder of two RUC officers it should be willing to investigate fully the murder of 33 citizens of this state.

The Dublin government announced in December that it would hold an inquiry into allegations that gardai had colluded with the IRA in the deaths of two RUC police chiefs in the Dundalk area in 1986.

Urgent Appeal

Despite increasing support for Irish freedom and unity, we need your help to overcome British and unionist intransigence. We can end the denial of our rights in relation to Brexit, the Irish language, a border poll and legacy issues, with your support.

Please support IRN now to help us continue reporting and campaigning for our national rights. Even one pound a month can make a big difference for us.

Your contribution can be made with a credit or debit card by clicking below. A continuing monthly donation of £2 or more will give you full access to this site. Thank you. Go raibh míle maith agat.

© 2004 Irish Republican News