Justice for the Forgotten, the organisation that represents victims of the conflict in the 26 Counties, says it will close its doors in June unless the Dublin government commits renewed funding to complete its work.
The organisation says its future is unclear after they were told that no additional budget would be made available after this summer.
“We were given a cheque in June of last year and were told, ‘that’s it’,” said Margaret Urwin who heads up the Justice for the Forgotten Office. The Government has told us that no more funding is available,” she said.
Ms Urwin said the organisation was being discriminated against because of its location. Other groups representing victims received extensive funding from the British and US governments as well as the EU, she said.
“Because we are south of the Border, there is less focus on what we do but the suffering endured by the families of those that died in the South is just as painful as that experienced by the families in the North who have far more support programmes,” she said.
Justice for the Forgotten assist families and survivors from the 26 COunties who died in the bombing in Belturbet, County Cavan in December 1972, the Dublin bombings of December 1972 and January 1973, the Dundalk bombing in December 1975 and the Castleblayney explosion of March 1976.
The events that have seen its greatest focus have been the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of May 1974 and the Miami Showband massacre of July 1975.
The threatened closure of the organisation would be seen as a massive blow to the families of those that died who say many questions remain unanswered, she said.
“Our work is far from complete. We are still seeking papers from the British about the 1974 Dublin/Monaghan bombings which they have refused to hand over to our Government.”
They are also compiling an oral history about various incidents which will be made available to the National Archive and libraries. “Justice for the Forgotten needs funding for at least another two to three years and if it comes to an end this year, our work will remain incomplete,” she added.
Justice for the Forgotten which is based at Gardiner Street, Dublin, has approached the Department of Foreign Affairs for funding under the Reconciliation Programme but says its application has been rejected.
The Department of Justice confirmed funding has formally come to an end but, it noted, the Minister for Justice had granted additional funding to Justice for the Forgotten totalling O190,300 while it sought to put alternative funding options in place.
The Minister’s priority was to ensure victims who require ongoing medical treatment for injuries sustained in bombings and other incidents would continue. “Special arrangements have been made to have these costs provided through the department’s victims of crime office,” a statement said.