The injured and bereaved of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings reached a potentially crucial milestone yesterday with the completion of an long-awaited report into the attacks.
26-County Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has received the findings of the Commission of Investigation into the car bomb attacks which killed 33 people, including a heavily pregnant woman, on May 17 1974.
No-one was ever charged with the bombings, but it is believed unionist paramilitaries planted the devices with the support of the British Crown forces.
The report, following an investigation by criminal lawyer Patrick MacEntee, will be studied by the 26-County attorney general and cabinet before being made public.
Mr Ahern thanked Mr MacEntee and his staff for their work.
“The Dublin and Monaghan bombings were a terrible atrocity and it is important that we uncover the truth of what happened,” he said, adding that he intended to publish the document “as soon as possible’’.
Greg O’Neill, solicitor for the Justice for the Forgotten group, said it was another milestone in its campaign to get the full facts surrounding the attacks into the public domain.
Mr O’Neill said in compiling a previous report in 2003, Judge Henry Barron had been limited by the refusal of British authorities to cooperate and his inability to compel witnesses or the production of documents.
Describing the Barron report as a “worthwhile undertaking”, Mr O’Neill said the MacEntee inquiry had the power to call witnesses and to question them under oath.
Mr MacEntee was requested by the government to investigate why the original Garda police investigation into the four devastating explosions was wound down within months.
The barrister is believed to have made unprecedented progress in his inquiries through contact with individuals linked to British intelligence, who met him and provided him with documentation.
Justice for the Forgotten has expressed hope that the latest report will be published before the Dail breaks for Easter.
Sinn Féin last night called for publication as soon as possible and for a Dail debate on collusion before it rises for a general election.
* The families of two teenagers killed in a no-warning car bomb attack in County Cavan have called for fresh efforts to bring the killers to justice.
No-one was ever charged, despite the fact that the names of those involved were provided to gardai.
A memorial was unveiled in the town last week in honour of the young victims.