Hearings told of Cabinet fears, secret sub-committee

The final hearings before the Dublin parliamentary committee on the Barron report into the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings took place today at Leinster House.

The committee has heard a welter of evidence from leading political and military figures pointing to collusion in the attacks, which were blamed on the unionist paramilitary UVF.

The commmittee has added to the information garnered by Justice Barron on the bombings, but it is clear there are many more layers of truth yet to be uncovered.

The Justice for the Forgotten group, which represents some of those who were bereaved or injured in the attacks, has said it is confident that the committee will conclude that a public inquiry is required.

Yesterday, a former Cabinet minister has said that there was ``a security sub-committee'' operating independently of the Cabinet when the Dublin and Monaghan bombings occurred.

Former Minister for Industry and Commerce Justin Keating told committee members that the previously unknown security sub-committee operated with ``too little'' reference to the government as a whole and ``people like me were bypassed''.

Mr Keating told the committee that he did not know who the members of the security committee were at the time, but he is now aware of who they were.

He refused to divulge their names, but said that neither he nor the former Foreign Affairs Minister Garret FitzGerald were members.

When asked if he could recollect if the security sub-committee ever reported to the Cabinet on the incident, Mr Keating said that he could not.

He said he did not know if the security sub-committee was formally established, or when it was established, but ``it functioned''.

Mr Keating wnet on to say that public scepticism of the government of the day was justifiable in regard to the issues of extradition and the levels of collusion that existed on both sides of the border.

``There was collusion and I believe there were moments we didn't oppose state terrorism as rigorously as we should have,'' he said.

He said when viewing the May 17 attacks, using the 1970s Arms Trial as a backdrop, it was felt that if those suspected of carrying out the bombings were extradited and put on trial, ``so much would come out that there would be an immense sense of outrage''.

He added that a revelation of collusion between the British and the loyalist death-squads who were suspected of carrying out the attacks would have made the country ungovernable.

``I didn't share that opinion, but it was understandable,'' he maintained.

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