Families of victims of the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings have said they have no confidence in a new ‘Commission of Investigation’ into the police inquiry into the bombings, blamed on collusion between unionist paramilitaries and state forces.
A total of 27 people were killed in three simultaneous blasts in Talbot Street, Parnell Street and South Leinster Street in Dublin in May 1974.
A further seven were killed in Monaghan town a short time later.
Nobody has ever been convicted of the no-warning atrocities, Police on both sides of the border are alleged to have facilitated the attacks to suppress support for the IRA in the 26 Counties.
A private inquiry into the atrocity was set up in 2003 by retired Judge Henry Barron, but British authorities refused to co-operate or provide files and information.
The new commission by barrister Paddy MacEntee will investigate why the Garda inquiry was wound down in 1974, why it failed to follow up significant leads and how police documents went “missing”.
Justice for the Forgotten, representing the bereaved and the survivors of the bombings, has criticised the form of investigation.
The Terms of Reference of the Inquiry do not contain any reference to the victims as persons who have rights and interests in the matters to be investigated. In the absence of any meeting with the Chairperson, the families and their advisers have warned that they may have no role in the Inquiry.
Campaign secretary Margaret Urwin said: “In the absence of an undertaking by the state to meet the families’ legal costs, they find themselves at a distinct disadvantage compared to the Department of Justice and the Garda Siochana, who will be fully represented.
“In the circumstances Justice for the Forgotten can have no confidence in the process of investigation being embarked on.”
A Dublin government spokesperson said the commission was being set up in response to the recommendations of the parliamentary committee which investigated the bombings following the Barron report.
Justice for the Forgotten solicitor Greg O’Neill said the group had submitted a memo on the terms of reference, but this had been ignored.
“The families have been shut out by the government yet again. The inquiry will address some questions but many others will remain unanswered,” he said.